UCF Softball Concludes Regular Season with Loss at Houston

May 8, 2011

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By Sarah Tarasewicz

HOUSTON, Texas (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team got a 2-for-3 performance at the plate from junior centerfielder Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.), but it was not enough as the Knights concluded their 2011 regular-season schedule with a 7-0 loss to Houston (39-15, 19-5 C-USA) Sunday afternoon at Cougar Softball Stadium.

The Black and Gold finished the regular-season with a 21-31 record on the season and an 11-13 league record to earn the No. 6 seed for the C-USA Championship next weekend at East Carolina. The Knights will face No. 3-seed UAB in the opening round of the event Thursday. Game time for that contest is tentatively set for 7 p.m., pending the Pirates' game-time selection as the host team.

Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa), Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.), Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.), Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) and Patrice Fee (Cocoa, Fla.) accounted for UCF's additional five hits in the contest, with Menendez posting the only extra-base hit of the weekend for the Knights with a double in the seventh inning.

Senior Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) suffered the loss in the circle for the Black and Gold, allowing seven runs, five of which were earned, on seven hits with three walks and a strikeout to fall to 9-13 on the year.

With single runs in both the first and second innings, the Cougars took an early lead on the Knights for the third-straight game, 2-0.

The Black and Gold looked to answer back in the top of the fourth inning when it loaded the bases with two outs on singles by Perez, McClain and Lane, but a groundout to the third baseman off the bat of Menendez ended UCF's threat.

Another run would cross for the home team in the bottom of the fifth inning on a two-out error and a single to centerfield to put the visiting Black and Gold in the three-run hole heading into the sixth inning. But, a pinch-hit grand slam by Baillie Lott in the home half of the sixth frame put the Cougars ahead, 7-0, and put the Knights in a deficit that was too large to overcome in the top of the seventh inning.

The Black and Gold put runners at first and third with two outs in the final frame, but Houston starter Diedre Outon worked her way out of the jam with a comeback grounder to end the contest.

Houston claimed at least a share of the C-USA regular-season title, depending on the outcome of Tulsa's contest at UTEP, with the trio of victories over the Knights. The Cougars finished the regular-season with a 19-5 league record and a 39-15 overall clip to earn the No. 1 seed in the C-USA Championship.

The Knights return to Greenville, N.C., May 12-14 for the 2011 C-USA Softball Championship hosted by East Carolina. The Black and Gold will be the No. 6 seed entering the tournament next weekend and will face the No. 3 seed UAB at 7 p.m. Thursday night, pending the Pirates' game-time selection as the host team.