UCF Softball Finishes Holiday Inn Select Spring Fling 4-0 After Sweeping Saturday

March 3, 2012

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By Andrew Jennette

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team (13-7) extended its season-best winning streak to eight games after taking both games of its doubleheader on Saturday vs. UIC and Stetson at the UCF & Holiday Inn Select Spring Fling tournament at the UCF Softball Complex. The Knights picked up their first shutout of the season against UIC as they earned a 7-0 victory in the early game before finishing off the tournament with a 3-1 win over Stetson.

Game 1 - UCF 7, UIC 0 - Box Score

For the second consecutive day, a four-run second inning powered UCF, this time to a 7-0 victory over the UIC Flames. Senior Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) reached base in all four of her plate appearances as she drew three walks and broke the game open in the fourth inning with a two-run single. Perez raised her team-best on-base percentage to .426.

Freshman Kahley Novak (Clermont, Fla.) also had a productive day at the plate for the Knights as she also reached base in all three of her plate appearances. Novak went 2-for-2 at the plate with a run scored, two RBI and a sacrifice hit. The Knights' leftfielder raised her batting average 55 points over the weekend as she went 5-for-8 for the tournament.

Freshman Mackenzie Audas (Plant City, Fla.) picked up the first shutout victory of her career as she pitched seven innings and only allowed five hits while striking out five. Audas improved her record to 6-4 on the season and lowered her ERA to 1.53.

The Black and Gold chalked up four runs in the second inning as senior Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) ripped a two-run triple into the right centerfield gap. The triple was Swan's team-leading third of the season. Later in the inning, Swan scored as Novak showed bunt, only to pull back and slap a single through the open left side of the infield. Novak's clever piece of hitting gave the Knights a 4-0 advantage.

Game 2 - UCF 3, Stetson 1 - Box Score

With the bases loaded and two-outs in the fifth, senior Ali Schmidt (Cordova, Md.) came on in relief and coaxed an inning-ending strikeout after running the count full. The punch-out ended the Stetson Hatters best threat of the game and powered the Knights to a 3-1 victory.

Schmidt earned her second save of the season after pitching 2.1 scoreless innings of relief. Junior Alex Hartshorn (Tampa, Fla.) picked up her third win of the season after going 4.2 innings and allowing just one earned run to go with a season-high six strikeouts.

Senior Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) continued her incredible hot streak against Stetson as she went 2-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and the game-winning RBI to lead the Knights to a 3-1 victory over the Stetson Hatters. Land's RBI single in the second inning proved to be the difference maker as it gave the Knights the lead they would not relinquish.

Land finished the day 4-for-7 with two runs scored and two RBI and finished the tournament overall 7-for-15 with five runs scored, three RBI and two stolen bases. The shortstop has raised her batting average 98 points in the last five games since being moved to the leadoff spot.

Junior Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) went 1-for-2 with two RBI for the Knights. Menendez knocked in Land in the first inning with an RBI single and plated a crucial insurance run with a sacrifice fly that scored Novak in the fifth. Menendez is hitting a team-best .333 on the year.

Schedule Note: Tomorrow's scheduled UIC v. Stetson game has been cancelled due to a Stetson forfeit. The Penn vs. Jacksonville game has been rescheduled for noon on Sunday.

The Knights return to action on Wednesday as they are set to host Georgetown in a doubleheader at the UCF Softball Complex. UCF fans can follow all the action on UCF All-Access with live video and the voice of UCF softball, Eric Lopez. Fans can also follow on UCFAthletics.com Gametracker as well as www.twitter.com/UCF_Softball.

The Black and Gold have 20 home games remaining at the UCF Softball Complex, with season tickets for the 2012 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.