April 21, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team cranked out ten hits for the eighth time this season to take a 7-4 victory from visiting Bethune-Cookman Wednesday afternoon at the UCF Softball Complex. The win improved the Knights' 2010 record to 27-19.
"This is the first time in probably five games that we have seen our one through nine batters really take on a plan of action at the plate," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "They were sitting back and waiting for their pitch in order to make something happen for the runners that were on base."
Seven of the nine Knights in the batting order posted a hit, while Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.), Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) and Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) tallied two hits apiece. Perez hit a big two run double in the second to put the Black and Gold up by two.
"I was just looking for a good pitch to hit," Perez said. "[Allison Garcia] was throwing outside all game, so I knew I needed to take it to the right side."
Land improved her current hitting streak to three games with her two hits on the day and continues to be one of the core leaders for UCF both on offense and defense.
"She's amazing," Perez said about Land. "She always comes out there and makes big plays at second and continues to come up big at the plate."
The Black and Gold was the first to put runs on the board in the bottom of the second inning when Perez laced a two-RBI double with bases loaded. Another two runs scored after a pair of errors by the Wildcats' defense allowed two more runs to score and gave the Knights a four-run lead heading into the third.
The Wildcats would cut the UCF's lead to three runs in the third inning after posting a single run.
Both squads remained quiet through the fourth, but Bethune-Cookman was not going to leave without a fight and the game took a quick turn after Cesley Tafoya hit a three-run home run in the top of the fifth to even the score at four runs apiece.
The Black and Gold regained the lead when Menendez hit a RBI single to centerfield in the bottom of the fifth frame to score Land from third. The Knights solidified the win over the Wildcats on a two RBI single from junior Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) in the bottom of the sixth inning, a shot that brought in both Land and Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.). Kristina DeMello (Mead, Wash.) earned her sixth win of the season in the circle, giving up four runs on three hits, while adding four strikeouts, in five innings of work. Junior Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) came in relief and slung two hitless innings to ensure the win for the Black and Gold. Her solid appearance in the circle got her the save, her first of the 2010 season.
"Diana has all the tools, and so much of it is her just having the confidence to get the job done. Today you could see a lot confidence in her," Luers-Gillispie said. "She came out and was really focused on what she needed to take care of and her pitches were working well. I had a lot of confidence in her to be able to help us out and I was very proud of her to be able to close out those last two innings for us."
The Knights return to the UCF Softball Complex this weekend when they host Tulsa in their last home Conference USA series. The action begins Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader before coming to a close Sunday at noon.
The UCF softball team will be hosting its 2010 Senior Day Sunday, April 25 when it hosts Tulsa in league action at the UCF Softball Complex. The Knights will be paying tribute to their five seniors: Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.), Morgan Bullard (Columbia, S.C.), Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.), Kristina DeMello (Mead, Wash.) and Mary Helen Tyler (Marianna, Fla.).
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.