April 24, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team put together a strong defensive performance Friday evening, despite falling to Memphis, 2-0, in the first of its three-game Conference USA series at Tiger Softball Complex.
With the loss, the Knights drop to 23-25 on the season and 7-11 in league action, while the Tigers continue to improve in C-USA play, holding a 6-13 league mark and a 21-25 overall record.
UCF could only post two hits off of Memphis' southpaw, Janelle Valle, with Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) blasting a double in the fourth inning and Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) leading off the contest with a single behind first base.
Despite not having a lot of production from its offense, the Black and Gold's defense dazzled in the field, turning two double plays to get itself out of a couple jams. The first came in the opening frame, with Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) making a basket catch in shallow left center at shortstop, before doubling up Leila Dolfo straying too far from second base. The Knights extended their league-lead in double plays with their second of the contest in the sixth inning, when Morgan Bullard (Columbia, S.C.) ran down a ball in deep left-centerfield and gunned the ball in to McClain, who threw it to first to get pinch runner, Kamri Chester, out on the play.
UCF has now turned a program-record 29 double plays this season and leads C-USA by nine DPS, with the Tigers holding down the second position with 20. The Knights' defense has turned five double plays in its last two contests, and seven in its last four games.
Junior Kristina DeMello (Mead, Wash.) was tagged with the loss in the circle for UCF, despite giving up only two runs, one of which was earned, on five hits, while striking out two, in a complete-game outing. With the defeat, the hurler falls to 7-8 on the season.
Memphis scored a single run in the first inning to take the early lead, before a home run from Tori Gross in the third inning gave the Tigers all the runs they would need to get the win.
The Knights wrap up their series with Memphis Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
The UCF softball team will play its final C-USA series of 2009 against UTEP at the UCF Softball Complex on May 2-3. 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.