March 23, 2011
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team used a three-run second inning to defeat visiting Kent State (7-16), 3-2, in non-conference action Wednesday evening at the UCF Softball Complex to improve to 11-20 on the season. Kellie Todd (Ocala, Fla.) and Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) each posted two hits and scored a run to lead the Knights offensively.
"I thought a combination of speed and a well-executed small-ball game really were the keys to our victory tonight," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "We were very successful at putting down sacrifice bunts to move runners up, had a couple bunts for hits and were able to drive the runs in when we needed to."
Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.), Patrice Fee (Cocoa, Fla.) and Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) tallied a hit and a RBI apiece for the Black and Gold, while Ashley Schmitt (Tampa, Fla.) also scored a run in the contest. Land, Todd and Lane also had sacrifice hits, with Land and Perez each swiping a base in the win.
Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Fla.) earned the win in the circle for the Knights to improve her record to 8-6 on the year. The hurler allowed two runs, neither of which were earned, on three hits with one walk and three strikeouts in 4.1 innings of work. Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) was flawless in 2.2 innings of relief for the Knights to earn her second save of the season, as she did not allow a single runner to reach base.
"Diana did a great job of not only coming in to close out the fifth inning for us, be she really made a statement by closing out the game as well," Luers-Gillispie said. "She continues to get more and more confident with every appearance and I am looking forward to seeing how she will do against UAB this weekend."
The only runs scored in the contest came in the second inning, with the Golden Flashes getting on the board first with two runs in the top of the frame. The Knights answered back in the bottom of the inning by cutting Kent State's lead in half thanks to a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Fee, before Lane evened the score with a sacrifice bunt to score Perez from third base. Land then drove in Schmitt from third base with a single to right field, which would prove to be the game-winning run.
The Knights are back in action this weekend when they host UAB for a three-game Conference USA series at the UCF Softball Complex. UCF's 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday will also serve as Alumni Day as the Black and Gold commemorate its 10-year anniversary as a program. Former Knights will watch as UCF takes on the Blazers, before enjoying a post-game party at The Moat Sports Grille, which will feature a slideshow of pictures from the last 10 years courtesy of the UCF Alumni Association.
UCF will conclude the league series vs. UAB Sunday at 12 p.m.
The Knights have 10 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.