April 10, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Junior hurler Kristina DeMello (Mead, Wash.) tossed the game of her career Saturday with a one-hit performance in the circle, as the UCF (21-21, 6-8 C-USA) softball team swept a doubleheader from Marshall (21-12, 7-4 C-USA), 7-3 and 3-0, respectively, to clinch the Conference USA-series victory.
"The win and the one-hitter today were definitely a team effort," DeMello said after the game. "A lot of defensive work behind me and a lot of great hitting by our offense was the key to the victory. We pulled it together and it was a big win for the team."
DeMello (6-6) was dominant in the circle for the Black and Gold in the nightcap, falling only two hit-batters and a hit short of a perfect game, while picking up her sixth win of the year. The junior also tallied five strikeouts to earn her second shutout of 2009.
"This is by far a great moment for (Kristina) and for the team," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "She pitched an unbelievable game. I am so proud of how she has started to step up and take care of these games."
The Black and Gold took an early lead in the nightcap, plating one run thanks to a bases-loaded RBI single by Perez. Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a bunt single by Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif). Javier laid down a sac bunt to put the runners in scoring position and an intentional walk issued to Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) loaded the bases for Perez to give the Knights a one-run lead.
The Black and Gold tagged two insurance runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning on two errors, an intentional walk and a RBI-fielder's choice off the bat of Javier and would go on to win the game, 3-0.
In the opening contest, the Knights used two three-run innings, one in the fourth and one in the sixth, and a three-hit performance from Barrow to defeat the Thundering Herd, 7-3.
Barrow posted a run and a RBI in her first three-hit outing of the season and second of her career. Her only other tri-hit performance came against Marshall last season.
Also coming up big in the contest at the plate was Lane, Javier and Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.). Both Lane and Javier recorded two hits, one RBI and scored two runs, while Cole registered a hit and two RBI to help her own cause.
Cole picked up the win in the circle for the Knights, blanking the Thundering Herd and allowing only three hits in 3.2 innings of relief. The victory improved her record to 13-6 on the season and 4-3 in league contests.
Magon Paul (Virginia Beach, Va.) got the start on the mound for UCF, allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits in 3.1 innings of work.
The Knights fell down by one run in the top of the first, but evened the game two innings later on a RBI single by Javier. The single to right field scored Lane from second base and gave Javier her 27th RBI of the season. Barrow followed with a single of her own to put runners on first and second, before a walk to Mary Helen Tyler (Marianna, Fla.) loaded the bases. The Thundering Herd defense worked its way out of the jam, leaving the score knotted, 1-1.
Marshall posted two additional runs in the top of the fourth on three hits, including two doubles, an error and a sacrifice bunt to go up by two runs, but a RBI single by Lane scored Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) from second base to cut the Herd's lead to only one. Javier then reached base on a fielding error by Marshall's third baseman to keep the rally alive, setting up Barrow to knock in the tying run with a single to left field. Javier would give the Knights their first lead of the contest after touching home on a wild pitch by Marshall's reliever, Autumn Mitchell.
Back-to-back one-out hits from Javier and Barrow kicked-off the bottom half of the sixth, before a walk issued to Perez by the Herd's third pitcher of the contest, Caitlyn Jackson, loaded the bases for the home team. A ball passed Marshall's catcher allowed Javier to scored from third, and a two-RBI single up the middle off the bat of Cole gave the Knights a four-run advantage heading into the final frame.
UCF concludes its three-game C-USA series with the Thundering Herd Saturday 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.