March 28, 2010
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team cranked out 10 hits, which included two each from three different players, to complete a three-game Conference USA sweep against Southern Miss, 8-0, in five innings Sunday at the USM Softball Complex.
The league sweep was the second straight for the Black and Gold, as the squad also took three games from Houston at the UCF Softball Complex last weekend. The win also improved UCF's record to 22-12 on the season and to a C-USA-best 7-1 in league play.
Sophomore Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) and freshmen Arielle Palafox (Lakewood, Calif.) and Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) all tallied two hits for the Knights, with Palafox pacing the offense with two RBI and one run scored. Land scored two runs and stole two bases, while Menendez contributed a RBI and scored a run for the Black and Gold.
Also totaling a pair of RBI in the contest was sophomore Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.), who added one hit and scored a run, and senior Hillary Barrow also posted a hit and scored a pair of runs for the visiting team. Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) recorded a RBI for the Knights as well.
In the circle, senior Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.) was on top of her game, firing her third complete-game shutout of the year for the Black and Gold. In five innings of work, the hurler gave up only two hits and struck out four batters.
Cole improved her overall record to 14-6 on the season, while her C-USA record jumped to 4-1 with a pair of victories on the weekend.
The Black and Gold jumped on the Golden Eagles right off the bat, posting three runs in the top of the first inning. Land started off the frame with a single up the middle of the infield, before stealing second with two outs to put herself in scoring position. A single by Palafox through the right side brought Land in to plate the first run of the contest. On a fielder's choice and an error, the Knights put runners on second and third for Menendez. The freshman knocked a single into left field, and as the left fielder bobbled the ball, both Palafox and Lane would cross the plate for UCF.
Palafox drove in another run for the Black and Gold in the third inning, with Lane driving in a run of her own to put the Knights up by five. McClain was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame, before back-to-back-to-back singles by Barrow, Palafox and Lane gave UCF a five-run advantage through two and one half innings.
UCF extended its lead to eight runs in the fifth after Land led off the frame with a single and a stolen base and scored on a throwing error by the USM second baseman. A pair of ground outs brought Barrow around to touch home, before three-consecutive single from Menendez, Cole and Perez gave the Knights the eight run advantage and allowed the game to be called in five innings due to the eight-run rule.
The Knights return home Wednesday to face No. 6 Florida at the UCF Softball Complex. The contest is scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m. and will air live on Bright House Sports Network. The first 100 fans through the gate will receive a free black UCF t-shirt.
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.