UCF Softball Hands UAB First C-USA Loss of the Year

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March 26, 2011

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Behind a complete-game shutout in the circle by senior Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.), the UCF (12-21, 3-5 C-USA) softball team handed UAB (23-9, 7-1 C-USA) its first Conference USA loss of the season, 6-0, in its opening game Saturday afternoon at the UCF Softball Complex, before falling to the Blazers, 5-1, in the nightcap.

Game One - UCF 6, UAB 0 | Box Score
Rojas not only tossed her first-career shutout in the Knights' opening-game victory over UAB, but she also put together the first complete-game outing of her career to hand the Blazers their first league defeat of 2011. The hurler improved her record to 4-6 on the year after allowing nine hits, striking out three and walking only two in the contest.

"It felt awesome to be able to throw my first complete-game, get the shutout and pick up the win against UAB all in the same game," Rojas said of her outing. "I have been feeling pretty confident on the mound in my last few appearances and it feels great to be able to go out there and pitch like I know how to pitch."

The Knights scattered nine hits off UAB starter Leigh Streetman, with Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.), Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) and Patrice Fee (Cocoa, Fla.) pacing the squad with two hits apiece. Jest drove in a career-best three runs in the victory, while Lane added a walk and two runs scored.

Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) hit her seventh home run of the season to account for the only extra-base hit of the contest, while Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) posted a hit and a RBI and Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) added a hit and a run to round out the Knights' offensive attack.

The Black and Gold struck first in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Perez singled down the left field line to lead off the inning, moved to second on Lane's single to centerfield and scored when Jest singled up the middle of the infield. Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) loaded the bases after UAB's third baseman misplayed a ball down the line and Land drove in the Knight's second run with an infield single.

McClain extended UCF's lead to three runs in the bottom of the sixth with one swing of the bat, pounding a lead-off home run over the centerfield wall, before a bases-loaded single down the right field line off the bat of Jest added two more runs to the Knights' lead. The Black and Gold tagged on one more run in the frame on an error by UAB's shortstop to make the final score, 6-0.

Game Two - UCF 1, UAB 5 | Box Score
McClain put together a 2-for-3 performance at the plate for UCF and scored the team's only run, but the Knights were not able to come back from an early five-run deficit as they fell to the Blazers, 5-1, in the nightcap.

Land and Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) and each added a hit for the Knights' offense, with Menendez's poke into right field in the seventh inning driving in UCF's lone run.

Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Ont.) suffered the loss in the circle for the Knights to fall to 8-7 on the season after giving up five runs, three of which were earned, on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Ashley Schmitt (Tampa, Fla.) closed out the game on the mound, allowing only one hit and one walk in 2.1 innings of relief.

UAB was the first to score in the nightcap, bringing two runs across in the top of the second inning before extending its lead to three runs in the fourth on a solo home run by Mandy Lowman. The Blazers added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 5-0 lead.

The Knights posted their lone run of the nightcap in the bottom of the seventh inning on a single by Menendez. The inning started when Land reached on a single up the middle and advanced to second on a fielding error by UAB's shortstop. A double play by the Blazers put two outs on the board, but Menendez's single to right field allowed McClain to touch home safely to break up the shutout.

UCF concludes its three-game league series vs. UAB Sunday at 12 p.m.