March 6, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Junior Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) tied the Conference USA record for career triples Saturday as the UCF softball team continued to impress on the second day of the UCF Tournament. The Knights defeated Providence in the opener, 6-1, before coming back to defeat Boston College, 2-1, in dramatic fashion in the nightcap at the UCF Softball Complex.
The pair of wins improved the Knights' record to 11-8 on the season and extended the team's winning streak to six games. The stretch of wins for UCF is its longest since it won six-consecutive contests at the end of the 2008 season.
"The team is finding ways to win now," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "I am really proud of the heart and drive they have shown in the last week to make the necessary changes we needed to be successful."
Lane's three-bagger against the Friars in the opener was the 19th of her career, a mark that already tops the UCF all-time register. The junior now needs only one more triple to overtake the league's career record from DePaul's Sarah Martz, who played for the Blue Demons from 2001-04.
"I knew heading into the weekend that I was close to the record," Lane said. "I am really happy that I hit a triple at home with my parents being here to watch. Hopefully, I can get one more."
In the nightcap against Boston College, the Black and Gold trailed 1-0 heading into the seventh inning, before Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) took it upon her shoulders to keep her team in the game. The senior crushed a solo home run over the left field wall to lead off the inning and even the score, 1-1.
"Hillary's home run in the seventh inning (vs. Boston College) switched the momentum to our side and changed the atmosphere of that game," Luers-Gillispie said. "It is always great when a senior can step up and find a way to deliver in the clutch."
A double by Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.) kept the UCF rally alive and an intentional walk allowed to Arielle Palafox (Lakewood, Fla.) put two runners on with nobody out. A sacrifice bunt by Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) moved both runners into scoring position and another intentional walk allowed to Lane loaded the bases for Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.).
Perez hit a slow roller down the right field line, and in an attempt to throw out pinch runner Ashley Schmitt (Tampa, Fla.) at home, the Eagle's first baseman made an errant throw past the catcher to allow Schmitt to touch home safely and win the game for the Knights.
"As soon as I hit the ball, I just had this huge rush of adrenaline running through me and I just took off," Barrow said of her home run. "All I could think of was to just run as fast as I could. As soon as I knew it was over the fence I knew we were going to win."
Cole tossed her fourth-straight complete game to earn her fifth win in as many appearances in the circle for UCF. The senior allowed one run on seven hits, while striking out four batters to improve her record to 8-4 on the year.
vs. Providence Besides Lane, five additional Knights registered a hit for the home team against Providence, which included a three-run home run off the bat of Palafox in the first inning.
In the circle, Kristina DeMello (Mead, Wash.) tallied her first win of 2010 after allowing only one run on seven hits in 6.0 innings of work. Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) would once again close out the game on the mound for UCF, holding the Friars hitless in the final frame.
After a solid play by the Providence catcher which put the Knights at one out, Land reached first base on an error. Bumping Land to second was Cole, who reached on a fielder's choice. Palafox then hit a three-run bomb over the left field fence to bring both Knights across the plate, giving the Black and Gold an early 3-0 lead.
Providence pushed a run across in the top of the fourth inning on three single and a walk, but another two-out hit in the bottom of the frame plated two more runs for the home team, extending the Knights' lead, 5-1. Morgan Bullard (Columbia, S.C.), McClain and Barrow all drew walks for the Black and Gold to load the bases, before Cole drove in the pair of runs with a single down the left field line.
The Knights managed to tag on an insurance run in the sixth inning after Barrow reached base on a walk and the defense of Providence dropped a fly ball to left field off the bat of Cole. The error pushed Barrow home all the way from first base and set UCF up for a five-run victory.
The Black and Gold conclude play at the UCF Tournament Sunday with a 1 p.m. contest against Georgia Southern.
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.