April 30, 2011
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Behind a 4-for-5 performance from senior Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.), which included a game-winning two-RBI triple in the nightcap, the UCF softball team took two games from Southern Miss in a Conference USA doubleheader Saturday afternoon at the UCF Softball Complex. The Knights won the opening contest, 3-2, before posting a, 4-3, come-from-behind victory in game two.
"We executed really well when we needed to today," Swan said of the doubleheader sweep. "When we got runners on, we did all the right things to bring them in."
The pair of wins improved UCF's record to 20-28 on the season, while also bringing its league record back to an even 10-10. The Golden Eagles dropped to 17-32 overall and 4-16 in C-USA-only games with their pair of losses.
Game One - UCF 3, Southern Miss 2
UCF had three Knights post a pair of hits in the opening-game win vs. the Golden Eagles, with Swan, Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) and Ashley Schmitt (Tampa, Fla.) each tallying two hits apiece. Land also scored a run and stole a base, while Schmitt registered the only RBI on the contest for the Black and Gold.
Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) was credited with the win in the circle to improve her record to 8-11 on the season. The senior allowed two runs on eight hits with two strikeouts, while not allowing a walk, in a complete-game performance.
The two squads combined for 17 hits in the opener, with neither pitcher allowing a walk. The last time the Black and Gold played in a contest in which there were no walks issued was against Troy on Feb. 20, 2010 at the UCF Softball Complex.
The Knights fell down by one run in the top of the first inning, but quickly took the lead from the Golden Eagles with two runs in the bottom of the third. Perez hit a one-out single to right centerfield to get things rolling for the home team and moved to second on an infield single off the bat of Land. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, before USM starter Beth Dietrich threw her second-straight wild pitch to allow Perez to touch home safely and even the score at one run apiece.
Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners with Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) coming to the plate. Lane lined a shot right at the Golden Eagles' shortstop, but an errant throw past the first baseman on an attempted double play brought Land in to give the Knights the lead.
The Black and Gold added an insurance run in the sixth inning that would prove to be the game-winner. Menendez Swan and Fee led off the frame with back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases, and a RBI single up the middle of the infield by Schmitt made the score, 3-1.
Southern Miss scored a run in the top of the seventh inning on an Alexis Hurley solo home run, but a grounder and a pair of fielder's choices sealed the game for the home team.
Game Two - UCF 4, Southern Miss 3
Swan continued to impress in the nightcap, going 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI to lead the Black and Gold at the plate. Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) added two hits of her own, while Lane had a hit, a RBI, one run scored and a stolen base.
Fee scored two of the home team's runs, while posting a hit and walking twice. Land went 1-for-2 with a walk and one run scored and Perez added a RBI.
The win in the circle went to junior Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Ont.), who allowed three runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and two walks in a complete-game outing. The victory improved Dinney's record to 11-8 on the year.
The Golden Eagles scored two runs in the first inning to put UCF in an early hole, but the Knights cut the visitor's lead to one run with a score in the third inning. In the frame, Fee and Swan led off with back-to-back singles, before Jest loaded the bases with an infield single to the pitcher. Perez hit a fielder's choice to the shortstop that allowed Fee to cross home safely.
Dinney and the Knights' defense held Southern Miss scoreless through the next five innings, allowing the Black and Gold enough time to take a two-run lead in the bottom of the sixth inning on a one-out RBI single down the left field line off the bat of Lane and a two-RBI triple to left centerfield by Swan.
Land led off the frame with a single to left field and stole second to move into scoring position. A sacrifice bunt by McClain moved Land to third base before Lane's single evened the score, 2-2.
Lane tagged up on a two-out fly ball to right field to advance to the top of the diamond, before Fee drew a walk to put two runners on base for Swan. That is when Swan drove a delivery from Luciano to the left centerfield gap to score both Lane and Fee and put the Knights ahead for the first time in the game.
The Golden Eagles threatened to even the game in the top of the seventh inning, posting three-consecutive one-out hits to load the bases and pulled within one run of the Knights on a single up the middle. On the same play, Swan gunned Brittany Lilly out at the plate trying to score from second base to put two outs on the board. Dinney got Britney Dinelt to pop out to Land at second base to end the threat and earn the sweep.
"I love those situations," Swan said of the play at the plate. "I dare people to run on me, so when they do it's a great time for me."
The Knights conclude the series with the Golden Eagles Sunday at 12 p.m. The contest will also serve as Senior Day for the team's five seniors: Tiffany Lane, Abby McClain, Diana Rojas, Ashley Schmitt and Tawny Swan.