UCF Softball Falls to Top-Ranked UCLA Despite Valiant Effort


Feb. 13, 2011

Box Score

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (UCFAthletics.com) - Senior pitcher Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) put together one of the most impressive performances of her career vs. No. 1 UCLA (4-0) Saturday night, but the tough-hitting Bruins managed to top the UCF (1-2) softball team, 10-2, on the second day of the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament at Easton Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.

Rojas dazzled in the first four innings of the contest, allowing only three runs on two hits to the Bruins with a pair of strikeouts, but the home team got her for seven runs on six hits, including two home runs, in the fifth inning to end the game early due to the eight-run rule.

Rojas gave up 10 runs on eight hits, walked seven and struck out two in 4.2 total innings of work. The right-hander fell to 1-1 overall with the defeat.

Offensively, the Black and Gold put runners on in all but one inning, but stranded nine runners on base. The Knights had the bases loaded in three of the five innings played, but could not come through with a timely hit to bring the runners around.

Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.), Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) and Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) accounted for UCF's three hits on the night, with Jest and Menendez hitting a triple and a double, respectively, and Land stealing two bases.

Senior Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) walked twice and scored a run for the Knights, with Menendez coming around to score the other run. Freshman Haley Douglas (Pleasanton, Calif.) tallied the visiting team's only RBI and also walked once in the loss.

The Bruins were the first to score in the contest, plating an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning on a UCF miscue, but the Knights would put two runs across in the top of the second inning to take the lead from the defending National Champions. McClain started off the inning by drawing a leadoff walk, before Menendez put runners at second and third with a line-drive double to right field. Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) loaded the bases with a base on balls and, in her first collegiate at-bat, Douglas drove McClain in with an RBI fielder's choice to even the score, before a throwing error by UCLA's first baseman on the play allowed Menendez to slide home safely and put the Black and Gold ahead, 2-1.

The home team knotted the score in the bottom half of the inning on a pair of walks and a single, but UCF put pressure on the Bruins again in the third, loading the bases with one out thanks to a Land single, a McClain walk and a fielder's choice. UCLA was able to stave off the Knights' attack, however, with another fielder's choice and an infield pop up to keep the score even at 2-2.

UCLA's Amy Crawford put her team ahead in the bottom of the fourth inning with one swing of the bat, knocking a leadoff home run over the centerfield wall. Again, UCF loaded the bases in the top of the fifth inning after McClain reached on a fielding error, and both Perez and Douglas walked. But the Black and Gold could not get a timely hit, stranding three runners on base in the frame.

The home team would wrap up the game by scoring seven runs on six hits in the bottom of the fifth.

The Knights conclude play in the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament Sunday morning with a contest against North Dakota State at 12 p.m. ET. Fans can follow all the action at the event on UCFAthletics.com.

The Black and Gold will play 33 home games at the UCF Softball Complex, with season tickets for the 2011 season costing only $40. Tickets are available for purchase online at UCFAthletics.com and Ticketmaster.com, or by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000.

UCF hosts its 2011 home-opener Feb. 16 against North Florida at the UCF Softball Complex. UCF head football coach George O'Leary will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the contest, while the first 100 fans through the gate will receive a signed 2011 UCF softball schedule poster.