March 14, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Sophomore Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) went 6-for-7 at the plate, while junior hurler Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.) posted her second shutout of the season as the UCF (15-15, 1-4 C-USA) softball team split a Conference USA doubleheader with UAB (10-13, 3-2 C-USA) Saturday at the UCF Softball Complex. The Knights blanked the visiting Blazers, 7-0, in the opening contest, before dropping the nightcap, 7-4.
UCF pounded out 23 hits in the doubleheader, which included 12 knocks in game one. McClain led the offensive surge, hitting .857 (6-for-7) with a home run, two doubles, four RBI and three runs scored, while freshman Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) also put together a solid performance for UCF. The second baseman hit .800 (4-for-5) with three walks and two runs scored.
Cole picked up her ninth win of the season in the circle in the opening contest, allowing only two hits to the visiting Blazers, while striking out six in a complete-game shutout. Her shutout performance was her second of the season and first in league play.
McClain and Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) led the Knights at the plate in the win, both posting three hits and two RBI for the home team. McClain was 3-for-3 with her third home run of 2009, two runs scored, two RBI and a walk, while Lane had a 3-for-4 outing with a double, two RBI and one run scored. Land added two hits and a run, while walking twice.
It did not take the Knights long to get things rolling as they plated a run on two hits, including Lane's double, a pair of walks and a RBI from Breanne Javier (Castaic, Calif.) in the first inning. McClain would put the Black and Gold up by two runs after blasting a shot over the left-field fence in the next frame.
UCF added five more runs in the fifth inning to put the game out of reach for the Blazers. The Black and Gold batted through the lineup, with five different Knights posting a hit in the frame. Barrow got the inning started after legging out a single to the shortstop, and advanced to second on Perez's sacrifice bunt. Land hit a single to put two runners on and an error by UAB's second baseman allowed Barrow to score the first run of the inning. Dean's single up the middle lit up the scoreboard again for UCF, before back-to-back singles from McClain and Lane extended the Knights' lead to seven runs.
Despite outhitting the Blazers in the nightcap, 11-9, five defensive errors and two home runs from UAB hampered the Knights in their, 7-4, loss Saturday.
Senior Magon Paul (Virginia Beach, Va.) was tagged with the loss in the circle, dropping her record to 2-4 on the season. The hurler allowed five earned runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings of work. Junior Kristina DeMello (Mead, Wash.) threw the final 2.2 innings for the home team, allowing only one hit in relief.
McClain shined once again for the Black and Gold offense, posting three hits, including two doubles, two RBI and one run scored. Meanwhile, Land recorded her second two-hit outing of the day with a pair of singles, a walk and a run scored.
A trio of errors in the opening inning of game two put the Black and Gold down by two runs early, but Paul cut the Blazer's lead in half in the second inning on a one-out RBI single. McClain then gave the Knights their first lead of the contest with a two-out, two-RBI double down the left-field line.
The Black and Gold's lead did not last long, however, as a two-run home run off the bat of Amanda Allen put UAB back on top, 4-3, in the third. After intentionally walking Allen in the fifth, Kayla Harris hit a three-run home run to extend the Blazer's lead to four.
The home team managed one more run in the sixth after McClain hit a two-out double to right field and scored on a single by Lane, but that would be all the Knights could score before they ran out of time.
UCF will conclude its Conference USA home-opener with the Blazers Sunday at Noon.
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.