UCF Softball Goes 1-1 to Close Out Home Tournament

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Feb. 19, 2011

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team concluded play in the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational I Saturday night with a 4-1 victory over Delaware (0-4), following a close 6-5 loss to Miami (Ohio) earlier in the day. The win over the Blue Hens improved the Knights record to 3-6 on the season and to an even 2-2 in the tournament.

"It was good to be able to finish out our home tournament with a win tonight," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "This weekend showed us what we need to work on to get better and win games, but closing out with the victory will really help our confidence going into Wednesday's game at Florida A&M."

Game One - UCF 5 vs. Miami (Ohio) 6 | Box Score
Sophomore Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) went 2-for-3 with two RBI, one run scored and a walk in the Knights' opening contest vs. Miami (Ohio), but the home team was not able to overcome three costly fielding errors in a, 6-5, loss to the RedHawks (3-1).

Fellow sophomore Patrice Fee (Cocoa, Fla.) added a triple and two RBI for the Black and Gold, while senior Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) tallied a pair of hits and scored a run.

Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Ont.) took the loss in the circle for UCF to fall to 1-3 on the year. The junior allowed six runs, three of which were earned, on four hits with two walks and a strikeout in 3.2 innings pitched. Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) held Miami scoreless in 3.2 innings of relief, giving up only four hits to the RedHawks and striking out two batters.

The Knights wasted no time putting a run on the board against the visiting squad, as senior Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) scored the first run of the contest on a RBI single through the left side off the bat of Menendez. McClain reached base earlier in the frame on a fielder's choice after fellow senior Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) posted the Knights' first hit of the game to right field.

UCF's one-run advantage held for a full inning, before Miami took a, 2-1, lead on a walk, a hit, a wild pitch and two Black and Gold errors in the top of the third.

But it was Fee who once again put the Knights on top, 3-2, in the home half of the frame with a two-RBI triple, scoring both Menendez and Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.). Menendez started the inning off with a one-out single to right field and Perez advanced her to second after drawing a walk to set up Fee's hit to right centerfield.

The lead changed hands again in the top of the fourth when the RedHawks scored four runs thanks to Shannon Tillett's two-run home run over the left field wall and a two-out, bases-loaded single by Kayla Ledbetter. The four scores put the Knights behind, 6-3, heading into the bottom of the frame.

A one-out, bases-loaded walk drawn by Menendez in the home half of the inning cut Miami's advantage to two runs, before an error by Miami's left fielder allowed the Black and Gold to pull within one run in the sixth, but it was not enough as the Knights could not make a comeback in the seventh.

Game Two - UCF 4 vs. Delaware 1 | Box Score
Swan swung the big stick for the Black and Gold in the nightcap victory over Delaware, going 3-for-3 with a double, a triple, a sacrifice fly and a RBI.

"Tawny has just looked so confident at the plate all weekend," Gillispie said. "She is so good at reading the defense and has the arsenal to do almost anything and she is showing that right now."

Todd also had a multi-hit performance in the win, tallying two hits and scoring a run. Perez drove two runs in and Lane added a hit, a RBI, a run and a walk for the UCF offense.

After closing out the first game against the RedHawks, Rojas (2-2) got the starting nod in the circle for the Knights and earned the victory after allowing only one run on six hits with a strikeout in 5.0 innings. Freshman Haley Douglas (Pleasanton, Calif.) picked up her first career save in 2.0 innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out two.

The Knights fell down by a run in the top of the first inning, but Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) led off the bottom of the frame with her first-career triple and scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly to centerfield off the bat of Swan to even the score.

Another run came across for the Black and Gold in the second inning when Lane touched home on a RBI putout by Perez. Lane reached base after getting hit by a pitch and stole second base to move into scoring position. A bunt single by Ashley Schmitt (Tampa, Fla.) put runners at the corners and a stolen base by Schmitt gave the Knights two runners in scoring position, before Perez's grounder to the right side gave the Black and Gold a 2-1 advantage.

Lane hit a single up the middle of the infield with bases loaded in the third inning to extend the home team's lead to two runs, and a bases-loaded walk allowed to Perez in the fifth made the score 4-1 in favor of UCF. That would prove to be all the Black and Gold would need to seal the win.

The Knights travel to Tallahassee, Fla., Wednesday for a mid-week contest at Florida A&M. First pitch for the contest is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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.