March 4, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Despite posting five extra-base hits, including a two-run home run from Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) in the sixth inning, the UCF (14-9) softball team's late rally fell short Wednesday afternoon, as it dropped its mid-week contest to visiting Loyola Chicago, 10-4, at the UCF Softball Complex.
Besides Land's homer, the Knights had three triples, one each from Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.), Mary Helen Tyler (Marianna, Fla.) and Tenisha Dixon (New Port Richey, Fla.), and a double from Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa). The contest was the second this season where the Knight posted three triples and the squad has recorded five or more extra-base hits on only two other occasions this season.
Land and Lane paced UCF's offense with two hits apiece, with Land adding two RBI and a run scored.
Kristina DeMello (Mead, Wash.) was tagged with the loss in the circle for the Black and Gold, allowing three earned runs on four hits in 4.1 innings of work to drop her record to 4-4 on the season. Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.) came in relief in the fifth inning, giving up six runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings.
The Ramblers (5-2) scored first in the contest in the top of the second inning, plating one run on a pair of hits and three UCF throwing miscues, before scoring another run in the fourth frame when Angie Funston hit a home run to centerfield.
UCF cut Loyola's lead in half in the bottom of the fourth, after Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) reached on a fielding error by the Rambler third baseman and scored on Tyler's triple to centerfield.
But, Loyola tagged five runs on the board in the fifth inning on two walks and three hits, including a grand-slam home run by Funston, her second homer of the game, to pull away from the home team, 7-1.
The Knights staged a comeback in the top of the sixth inning when Lindsay Dean (Jacksonville, Fla.) hit a two-out single to right centerfield and was brought around on a triple down the left-field line off the bat of Dixon. That is when Lane crushed a delivery from LUC starter, Amy Solava, over the left-field fence to cut the Rambler's lead to only three, 7-4.
The seventh inning did not fair any better for the Knights, as Loyola scored three additional runs in the frame, a deficit too large for the home team to overcome.
UCF opens Conference USA action this weekend when they travel to Tulsa, Okla., to battle the Golden Hurricane. The Knights will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. ET, before closing out the series Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
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.
- The Knights posted three triples for the second contest this season, after also hitting three triples against Tennessee State on Feb. 28.
- Tiffany Lane's triple in the third inning put her one closer to the UCF all-time record. The sophomore needs only one more three-bagger to tie Stephanie Best and Jania Shinhoster for the lead with 13 and two to set the record.
- UCF has now had three games in 2009 where they have had five or more extra-base hits. The Black and Gold posted six doubles against Illinois-Chicago on Feb. 20 and had four doubles and a triple at Jacksonville on Feb. 18.
- Breanne Javier laid down a sacrifice bunt in the first inning, tying her for seventh on the program's career register.
- With her double, Abby McClain has posted an extra-base hit in 10 of her 22 games played in 2009.
- Land's home run in the fifth inning was the second of her career.