March 20, 2011
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
TULSA, Okla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF (10-20, 2-4 C-USA) softball team's late rally fell short Sunday afternoon, as the squad dropped the final of its three-game Conference USA series to Tulsa (22-7, 6-0 C-USA), 7-3, at the Donna J. Hardesty Sports Complex.
Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) threw 3.1 innings of successful relief for the Black and Gold in the circle, allowing only one run on five hits and striking out three, but for the second-straight contest the damage had already been done.
Starter Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Ont.) was tagged with the loss on the mound after allowing six runs on four hits and walking five in 2.2 innings pitched to fall to 7-6 on the year.
UCF had five different Knights tally a hit against the Golden Hurricane, with Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) leading the way with a triple, a RBI and one run scored. Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) added a RBI on a sacrifice fly and Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) posted a hit, walked twice, was hit by a pitch and scored a run.
Tulsa jumped on the Knights early in the contest, scoring two runs in the first inning on a two-RBI double by Skylar Swanson, before extending its lead to six runs in the third inning. The Golden Hurricane scored four times in the frame thanks to a two-run home run off the bat of Aimee Creger and a walk and a single with the bases loaded.
The Knights put their first run on the board in the fifth inning after Lane reached on an error and advanced to second on the Golden Hurricane's second error of the contest. Land was hit by a pitch to load the bases and a wild pitch allowed Lane to touch home safely.
A RBI triple by Lane in the sixth inning cut Tulsa's lead to five runs and extended her C-USA-record to 22 career triples. Todd reached earlier in the frame on a single up the middle, moved to second on a ground ball and advanced to third on a ball past the catcher.
UCF would add one more run in the top of the seventh when Land scored on Menendez's sacrifice fly, but Tulsa's defense was able to stop the Knights' late surge to earn the series sweep.
The Black and Gold is back in action Wednesday as it is set to host Kent State at the UCF Softball Complex at 7 p.m.
The Knights have 11 home games remaining on their 2011 schedule, including a contest vs. in-state rival Florida State on April 6, 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.