UCF Softball Splits on Opening Day of UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational I

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Feb. 18, 2011

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF (2-5) softball team split a pair of games vs. UIC and Notre Dame Friday night on the opening day of the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational I at the UCF Softball Complex. The Knights defeated the Flames, 4-3, early, before falling to the Fighting Irish, 5-3, in the nightcap.

Game One - UCF 4 vs. UIC 3 | Box Score
Sophomore Patrice Fee (Cocoa, Fla.) hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to help the Knights earn a 4-3 victory over UIC (4-3) in their opening game of the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational I.

Fee led the Black and Gold in the contest with two RBI, while senior Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) posted a team-best two hits against the Flames. Fellow senior Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) posted the game-winning RBI in the fifth inning on a double to left centerfield and junior Kellie Todd (Ocala, Fla.) tallied a hit, a RBI and scored a run in her UCF debut as the starting left fielder.

Also on the offensive side of the ball, junior Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) extended her hitting streak to six games with a single to lead off the contest.

Junior Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Ont.) earned her first-career win in the circle after allowing only two earned runs on six hits in 6.1 innings of work. The hurler added a career-best five strikeouts in the outing and gave up only one base on balls to improve to 1-1 on the season.

Senior Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) shut the Flames down in the bottom of the seventh inning, getting the final two outs to post her first save of the year.

After falling down by two runs in the first inning, UCF cut the Flames' lead in half in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI single up the middle off the bat of Todd, before taking a one-run lead on Fee's two-RBI, pinch-hit home run down the right field line. The homer was the first hit of Fee's career as a Knight and was only the second home run of the season for the Black and Gold.

The Knights then took a two-run lead in the fifth inning when Swan belted an opposite-field double to score pinch runner Ashley Schmitt (Tampa, Fla.) from second base. Jest led off the frame by reaching base on a throwing error by UIC's pitcher, before advancing to second on the miscue.

The Flames were able to cut UCF's lead to one run after scoring in the top of the sixth, but Rojas held the offense in check to seal the Knights' victory.

Game Two - UCF 3 vs. Notre Dame 5 | Box Score
Fee once again paced the Black and Gold at the plate in the nightcap vs. Notre Dame (2-0), despite UCF dropping the contest to the Fighting Irish, 5-3.

The sophomore posted a double and two RBI for the Knights, while Todd also contributed a double, a RBI and scored a run. McClain added a hit, two walks and scored a run, and junior Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) stole a pair of bases and tallied a hit offensively.

Coming off her first save of the year, Rojas (1-2) was tagged with the loss in the circle against Notre Dame, giving up four runs on seven hits with one walk in 4.1 innings pitched.

Freshman Haley Douglas (Pleasanton, Calif.) would come in to finish the game, allowing one unearned run on two hits with one walk in 2.2 innings of relief.

After three scoreless innings to open the contest, the Fighting Irish finally broke the deadlock in the top of the fourth with a single run, before Swan hit her second RBI double of the day for the Black and Gold in the bottom of the frame to even the score, 1-1. With runners at first and second, Fee crushed a two-RBI double off the left centerfield wall to score Swan and Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) and gave the Black and Gold its first lead of the contest, 3-1.

The lead did not last long, however, as Notre Dame once again knotted the contest in the top of the fifth inning, 3-3, on a single, a fielder's choice and a two-RBI double to right centerfield, before eventually taking a two-run advantage on a RBI single and a sacrifice fly, which would stand for the remainder of the contest.

The Knights return to action at the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational I Saturday with games against both Miami (Ohio) and Delaware at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.

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.