Feb. 20, 2010
Orlando, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Behind a strong performance by its pitching staff, the UCF (4-4) softball team split a pair of contests Saturday on the second day of the UCF Invitational. The Knights opened the day with a convincing 5-2 win over Villanova (1-3), before falling to undefeated Troy (5-0) in the nightcap, 1-0.
Senior Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.) and junior Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) did not give up an earned run in their pair of starts, while allowing only 11 hits and combining for six strikeouts in the circle.
Rojas earned her second-straight win in the Knights opening game Saturday against Villanova, after allowing only five hits, striking out three and holding the Wildcats scoreless in 6.2 innings of work.
The Black and Gold's offense totaled eight hits in the day's opener, which included two extra-base hits, and added three stolen bases, two walks, a sacrifice hit and a sacrifice fly.
For the third-straight contest, the Knights were the first to put runs on the board against the Wildcats. Morgan Bullard (Columbia, S.C.) and Mary Helen Tyler (Marianna, Fla.) led off the second inning with back-to-back singles and back-to-back stolen bases. Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) brought in the first run of the game with a perfectly executed squeeze play, before a sacrifice fly to left field by Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) put UCF ahead by two runs. Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) then tagged on another run with her third triple of the year to bring in Land.
Both Bullard and Lane went 2-for-3 at the plate to pace UCF's offensive show versus Villanova, with Lane posting a RBI and her third triple of the year. Bullard, along with Tyler, Perez, Land and McClain, each added one run scored for the home team. McClain also had a double and two RBI.
With her triple in the second inning, Lane is now only two triples short of the Conference USA all-time record. Her 18 career triples trails only Sarah Martz, who totaled 19 three-baggers with DePaul from 2001-04.
McClain had her hand in another run for the Knights in the fourth inning after blasting an opposite-field double to score Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) from second base. Perez reached base earlier in the inning with a hard-hit single to the shortstop and stole second base to put herself into scoring position.
Villanova posted two runs in the seventh inning off relief pitcher Kazandra Holliday (Bremerton, Wash.), but Rojas came back into the contest and shut out the Wildcat offense to earn the win.
Despite getting a solid pitching outing from Cole, UCF's offense faltered in the nightcap against the Trojans, as the Knights could not muster a hit off of Troy starter, Ashlyn Williams.
Cole, however, held the Trojans to only one run, which was unearned, on seven hits and totaled three strikeouts and did not allow a walk.
Troy scored its only run of the game in the fifth inning following a single, a stolen base and a RBI single to right centerfield.
The Black and Gold concludes play in the UCF Invitational Sunday with a 1 p.m. contest against Florida A&M.
Season tickets for the 2010 season are only $40 and are on sale now, while single-game tickets are also available for purchase. Tickets can be purchased online at UCFAthletics.com or through the Athletics Ticket Office by calling (407) 823-1000.
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.