May 2, 2009
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Sophomore Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) went 6-for-8 with five RBI and one run scored to lead the UCF (27-25, 11-11 C-USA) softball team to a doubleheader sweep of Conference USA-foe UTEP (24-28-1, 7-15-1) Saturday afternoon at the UCF Softball Complex. The Knights came from behind to win the first game, 4-3, before scoring one run in each of the first five innings to take a, 5-2, victory from the Miners in the nightcap.
"We talked about getting stronger as the season went on," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "And it was great to see them sweep two games from UTEP today, especially on Parent's Day."
In game one, Lane went 3-for-4 at the plate and drove in three of the team's four RBI, while Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) also had a productive game for the home team, posting two doubles and scoring the game-winning run in the seventh, while taking the team-lead in doubles with 16 on the season.
Senior Lindsay Dean (Jacksonville, Fla.) was one of five additional Knights to post a hit in the contest, and also drove in the game-winning run in the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly to left field.
In the circle, Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.) earned the win for the Black and Gold, allowing only two earned runs on nine hits in her 16th complete game of the year. The hurler fanned three batters on her way to improving her overall record to 17-7 on the season.
Lane gave the Knights an early lead in the second inning of the opening game, plating Dean and Mary Helen Tyler (Marianna, Fla.) with a RBI single to left field, before the Miners evened the game in the fourth inning, when two runners scored on a wild pitch. UTEP would take the lead in the sixth inning on a solo home run off the bat of Jennifer Stalter.
But, Lane continued to be a thorn in the Miners' side, tying the game with a high-chopping single to the second baseman. The two-out hit allowed Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) to touch home from second base and tied the game at two runs apiece.
The Black and Gold held UTEP scoreless in the top of the seventh inning to put itself in prime position to take the win, and that is exactly what it did. Barrow led off the frame with her second double of the game and Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) moved her to third with a single up the middle. The Miners managed to get an out, but then Dean blasted a deep fly ball to left field to allow Barrow to tag up and score the game-winning run to end the game.
"When you get into the later innings and you are the home team, you have to get that lead runner on to have the opportunity to score runs. Hillary (Barrow) did a great job getting on in that position. Lindsay then got that key sacrifice fly to score that game winning run and gave us momentum heading into the second game."
The Knights picked up right where they left off in the second game, with Lane once again putting UCF ahead early with a RBI single in the first inning. After McClain led off the home portion of the contest with a double to left field, she moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Lane's chopper over the second baseman's head.
Lane continued to produce runs for her team, putting the Knights up by two runs with a RBI single in the bottom of the second. The sophomore legged out a single to the shortstop with bases loaded and two outs to score Dean from third base to tally her fifth RBI of the day for UCF.
UTEP cut UCF's lead in half in the third inning after three-consecutive walks loaded the bases and a Staci Townsend single brought a run in to score. But, the Black and Gold took the run back in the bottom half of the inning on a RBI single through the left side off the bat of Dean. Barrow then gave the Knights a three-run advantage in the bottom of the fourth with a RBI putout to right field.
A run in the fifth inning, thanks to an error by the Miner's shortstop, put UCF up by four runs heading into the sixth inning, a deficit UTEP was not able to overcome.
Kristina DeMello (Mead, Wash.) earned the win in the circle for the Knights, allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out nine, in seven innings of work. With the victory, DeMello improved her record to 9-8 on the season.
Offensively, Lane put together another 3-for-4 performance for the Black and Gold, adding two RBI and one run scored, while McClain posted two hits, including a double, a RBI and scored a run.
The UCF softball team will play its final home game of 2009 against UTEP at the UCF Softball Complex Sunday at Noon. The Knights' four seniors will be honored prior to first pitch for Senior Day.
The Black and Gold will look to defend its C-USA Championship title beginning May 7 when it travels to El Paso, Texas for the 2009 C-USA Championship presented by Helen of Troy. 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.