March 27, 2011
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF (12-22, 3-6 C-USA) softball team could not overcome a five-run third inning by UAB (24-9, 8-1 C-USA) as it dropped its Conference USA series finale to the Blazers, 5-3, Sunday afternoon at the UCF Softball Complex.
Three different Knights tallied two hits in the contest. Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) went 2-for-3 with a RBI, while Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) was a perfect 2-for-2 with one run scored. Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) rounded out the multiple-hit trio with two hits and her team-high 16th stolen base of the year.
Patrice Fee (Cocoa, Fla.) posted a hit and a RBI, and Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) added a double and scored a run for the Knights' offense. Kellie Todd (Ocala, Fla.) had a sacrifice hit, a sacrifice fly and a RBI in the effort.
Six total pitchers saw time in the circle for the pair of C-USA squads, but it was UCF starter Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) who was tagged with the loss in the circle for UCF. The hurler allowed three runs on three hits and struck out one in 2.1 innings pitched to drop to 4-7 on the year.
Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Fla.) was the first in relief, giving up two runs on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in 0.1 inning of work, before Ashley Schmitt (Tampa, Fla.) closed out the game for the home team. Schmitt held the Blazers scoreless, while allowing five hits and walking one in 4.1 innings of relief.
The Knights opened the scoring in the second inning as they brought two across in the frame. With two outs, Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) reached on an error by the Blazers' second baseman to ignite the offense, before a single through the left side by Perez put two runners on for Fee, who brought Menendez in with a single to left centerfield. UCF's second run of the game scored on Lane's single to left field with runners on first and second to put the home team up, 2-0, early in the contest.
A hit by pitch and a single put two runners on for UAB in the top of the third inning, before the visiting squad knotted the contest on a two-RBI double to right centerfield by Catherine Douglass. UCF made two pitching changes in the frame, but the Blazers managed to score three more runs to take a 5-2 lead.
An error by UAB's shortstop allowed Land to reach second base to open the home half of the third and a sacrifice bunt by Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) moved her to third base with only one out. Todd launched a sacrifice fly into centerfield to score Land and cut the Blazers' lead to two runs, but that was as close as the Knights would come to catching the Blazers.
Down 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth, the Black and Gold had a prime opportunity to score after Land laced a double down the left field line and McClain walked to put two runners on with no outs. A sacrifice bunt by Todd advanced the runners to second and third and a walk allowed to Perez loaded the bases for Fee, but Streetman and the Blazers' defense managed to get out of the jam unscathed and held on to win.
UCF is back in action Thursday when it travels to Daytona Beach for a non-conference matchup with Bethune-Cookman at 4 p.m.