March 19, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Despite a solid performance by senior hurler Magon Paul (Virginia Beach, Va.) and a home run from Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.), the UCF softball team dropped an 11-inning heartbreaker to visiting Iowa, 2-1, Thursday at the UCF Softball Complex. The extra-inning contest was the second for the Knights in as many games.
UCF dropped to 16-17 on the season win the loss, while the Hawkeyes, who were receiving votes in this week's USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Coaches Poll, improved their record to 24-5.
Paul threw all 11 innings for the Knights, allowing only two runs on six hits, while striking out three batters. The senior dropped to 2-5 on the season with the loss, but improved her ERA from a 4.17 entering the contest, to a 3.55. Coming into today's match-up, eight batters in Iowa's starting lineup were hitting .300 or better, and Paul did all that she could to keep their bats at bay.
"Magon was just incredible on the mound tonight," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "She kept Iowa off balance, worked her pitches and hit all of her spots. She really stepped up and did everything that she could to keep us in the game. You could tell that she really wanted it out there."
Lane scored the only run for the Black and Gold with her team-best fourth home run of the season. The sophomore also walked in the contest and reached on an error by the Hawkeye shortstop.
After falling behind by a run in the second inning, Lane evened the game with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the third, hitting a two-out, line-drive home run over the centerfield fence.
A pitcher's duel broke out following the homer, with the game remaining deadlocked at one run apiece for the next seven innings.
Paul held the hard-hitting Hawkeyes to only three hits through regulation, before a pair of hits and a sacrifice bunt in the top of the 11th inning sealed the win for the visitors.
"I have been working on just being consistent, not walking batters and trying to get a lot of leadoff and ground outs," Paul said. "As a team, we are just trying to do what it takes to win."
Iowa's starter, Brittany Weil, gave up only one run on three hits in 11 innings of work, holding UCF hitless in the final six innings, while striking out 13 to pick up her 12th win of the season.
The Knights have a long break before hitting the field again on March 28 when they travel to Greenville, N.C., for a Conference USA match-up with East Carolina. The three-game series begins Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader, before concluding with a single game 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.