UCF Softball Tripped Up by Ball State, North Carolina

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March 8, 2011

Game One Box Score | Game Two Box Score

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Junior Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) went 5-for-8 with a double and three runs scored, while also extending her hitting streak to 13 games, as the UCF softball team dropped a pair of games to Ball State, 7-5, and North Carolina, 7-6, in a doubleheader Tuesday night at the UCF Softball Complex.

Jest's streak is the third-longest mark in program history and is the longest streak since former Knight Breanne Javier set the UCF record with a hit in 15-straight games during the 2008 season.

The pair of losses dropped the Black and Gold's record to 7-16 on the season, while Ball State improved its record to 11-5 and North Carolina moved to 14-8.

Game One - UCF 5, Ball State 7
Both Jest and Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) put together 3-for-4 performances at the plate in the opening contest vs. Ball State, but it was not enough as the Knights fell, 7-5, to the visiting Cardinals.

McClain had a double and scored two runs, while Jest added a double and extended her hitting streak to 12 games with a single to lead off the first inning.

Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) also had a productive day at the plate against Ball State, posting a home run and a triple, while also tallying two RBI and scoring one run. Sophomore Patrice Fee (Cocoa, Fla.) also drove in two runs for the home team, with fellow sophomore Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) accounting for a hit and a RBI.

Senior Ashley Schmitt (Tampa, Fla.) was tagged with the loss in the circle after allowing four runs on five hits in 1.0 inning of work to fall to 0-4 on the year. Senior Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) also saw time on the mound, giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits in 3.2 innings of relief.

Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Ont.) closed out the contest for the Black and Gold, holding the Cardinals to only two hits and posting a strikeout in 2.1 relief innings.

The Knights fell down by four runs in the first inning, but a RBI triple by Land pulled the squad to within three in the bottom of the frame, making the score 4-1.

The Cardinals added another run to their lead in the second inning, but UCF earned it back plus one in the bottom of the fourth inning. McClain started the inning with a one-out double to left centerfield and Menendez followed up with a walk, before Perez hit a single to centerfield to load the bases for Fee. The sophomore belted a single to left field that scored two runs to bring UCF within a pair of scores.

Two more runs would come across for the Cardinals in the following frame as they once again took a four-run lead on the Black and Gold, but a two-out rally by the home team once again brought UCF to within two runs. Land started the rally with a solo home run over the centerfield fence, before a single by McClain and a RBI double off the bat of Menendez made the score 7-5 through five innings.

Neither team would score in the final two frames, as the Knights fell to 7-15 with the loss.

Game Two - UCF 6, North Carolina 7
Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) posted three hits, scored a run and added a RBI to pace the Black and Gold offense in its 7-6 loss to North Carolina in the nightcap, while two additional Knights had mulit-hit performances at the plate against the Tar Heels. Both Jest and Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) posted two hits for the home team and scored a pair of runs, while Menendez had a team-best two RBI.

Dinney suffered the loss in the circle to fall to 4-4 on the season, allowing seven runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings pitched. The junior walked four batters and struck out six in the start.

Rojas pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless and hitless relief, with one walk, to close out the game.

The Knights had to work their way out of a hole early after falling down by one run to the Tar Heels in the top of the first inning, but thanks to Menendez's bases loaded two-RBI single, along with a fielding error, UCF not only dug its way out of the hole but took a two-run lead into the second frame.

UCF extended its lead to three runs with a score in the bottom of the second inning in which Lane singled, stole second and third and was brought home on a single by Swan.

The score would stand for two full innings, before the Tar Heels pulled to within one run of the Knights with two runs in the top of the fifth and took the lead back in the sixth, 7-4, with four runs.

The Black and Gold rallied back in the bottom of the seventh with two runs to pull within one and had the game-winning run perched at first base. Back-to-back-to-back singles from Lane, Jest and Swan loaded the bases and a fielder's choice off the bat of Land scored Lane. With runners at the corners, McClain hit a long fly ball to right field which allowed Jest to touch home safely for the second run of the frame, but North Carolina was able to get the final out to post the come-from-behind victory.

The Knights have 17 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.