Feb. 20, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team used 16 hits and another stellar performance from Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) to sweep the opening day of the UCF Comfort Suites Invitational after downing Illinois-Chicago, 9-1, in six innings Friday night at the UCF Softball Complex.
McClain went 3-for-4 in the nightcap with three doubles, three runs scored and a RBI. Through two games on day one of the tournament, McClain was 6-for-8 with four doubles, six runs scored and a 1.250 slugging percentage.
"Everything is finally coming together for us," McClain said after the win. "We had 16 hits in this game and I think that shows that we are all getting more comfortable with each other and playing better as a team."
McClain was not the only Knight whose bat had some pop, as four of her teammates also posted multiple hits in the contest. Breanne Javier (Castaic, Calif.) was a perfect 3-for-3 from the dish with two RBI, while Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.), Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) and Mary Helen Tyler (Marianna, Fla.) all recorded two hits apiece.
Barrow knocked in a game-high three RBI, with Land adding two runs and Tyler touching the plate once.
"I am speechless at how well our offense executed today," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "It definitely makes my job easier when you have that kind of offensive production. Abby sparked our team in the lead-off position all night and everyone followed suit behind her."
The Flames opened the game with a run in the top half of the first, but it didn't take long for the Knights to answer back. McClain started the game for UCF with a double for the second-straight contest and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Land. The Knights put runners on the corners when Javier got hit by a pitch and Barrow plated UCF's first run on a fielder's choice to the shortstop to even the score, 1-1.
The Knights plated two more runs in the bottom of the third inning when McClain hit her second double of the game, Land was hit by a pitch, Javier loaded the bases with a single and Barrow scored both McClain and Land on a single to right field for her third RBI of the contest.
UCF extended its lead to five runs after four innings when three runners touched home in the inning. Tyler hit a single to left field to kick-start the frame and advanced to second with a sacrifice bunt from Magon Paul (Virginia Beach, Va.). A single from Lindsay Dean (Jacksonville, Fla.) put runners on first and third, before an error by the Flames first baseman allowed Tyler to score. A single up the middle from Javier plated Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.), and an error by the Illinois-Chicago shortstop brought in the Knights' sixth run of the game.
McClain continued to swing a hot bat in the seventh inning, blasting a RBI double over the left-fielder's head to score Lane, who reached earlier in the frame on a throwing error. Land, Javier and Perez followed McClain's lead with doubles of their own to make the score 9-1 and end the game early due to the eight-run rule.
Earlier in the day, the Black and Gold defeated a tough Portland State team, 5-3, behind another three-hit performance from McClain.
UCF is back in action on Saturday, where it will battle both Boston College and Oklahoma State at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., respectively.
Season tickets are on sale now for the 2009 softball season, which features 34 home games at the UCF Softball Complex. For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.