UCF Softball Drops Heartbreaker to North Florida


Feb. 27, 2011

Box Score

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Senior Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) and sophomore Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) combined for four hits, four RBI and two runs scored, but the UCF softball team came up just short in a heartbreaking, 5-4, loss to North Florida Sunday at the UCF Softball Complex to conclude the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational II.

The Knights fell to 4-11 on the season and 1-4 in their home tournament in the defeat, while the Ospreys improved to 6-9 overall and 2-3 in the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational II.

Swan was clutch at the plate for the Black and Gold in the contest, as she went 2-for-3 with two RBI, two runs scored, a walk and a stolen base, while Menendez also had a solid outing offensively, going 2-for-2 with two RBI, a sacrifice fly and a stolen base.

Junior Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) added a pair of hits and one run scored, and junior Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) posted her second triple of the tournament, scored a run and had a sacrifice hit for the home team.

In the circle, senior Ashley Schmitt (Tampa, Fla.) was handed her third loss of the year after allowing two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and a walk in 6.0 innings of relief. Fellow senior Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) was given the starting nod on the mound against the Ospreys, giving up three runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits with three walks and a strikeout in 1.0 inning pitched.

UCF jumped on North Florida early in the contest as it scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Jest led off the home half of the frame with a single up the middle of the infield, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Land and stole third base, before Swan's single allowed her to touch home plate for the first time in the contest. With Swan at second base, a McClain fly ball advanced her to third, and a Menendez single to right field put the home team ahead by two runs through one inning.

The Ospreys answered with three runs in the top of the second inning to put the Black and Gold down by a run, but Land sparked the Knights to a comeback in the bottom of the fifth inning when she led the frame off with a triple to right centerfield. Swan evened the score, 3-3, when she drove Land in with a single to right field, and moved into scoring position when she stole second base. Swan tagged up on a fly ball to right field to move to third base and scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly to deep right field off the bat of Menendez.

North Florida once again knotted the contest in the top of the sixth on a solo home run by Lauren Pollack, making the score, 4-4, with the Knights heading to the plate.

The Knights were unable to bring a run around in the sixth inning and the Ospreys capitalized in the top of the seventh, scoring a single run on two hits, a sacrifice bunt and a fielder's choice, a run which would prove to be the game-winner.

In a score-or-go-home situation in the bottom of the seventh, Jest opened the frame with a single to right field, but was caught stealing at second base for the Knights' first out. Land was called out on a bang-bang play hit behind first base for the second out, leaving it up to Swan to keep the Black and Gold's chances alive. Swan drew a two-out walk for McClain, who drove the ball deep to left field. But, the Osprey's left fielder was able to stretch to make the catch with her back against the fence to end the game.

UCF is back in action at the UCF Softball Complex Tuesday when they host both Valparaiso and No. 9 Michigan in a mid-week doubleheader. The Black and Gold will take on the Crusaders at 4:30 p.m., before facing the Wolverines for the second time this season at 7 p.m.

The Knights have 23 home games remaining on their 2011 schedule, with season tickets for the 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.