Knights' Rally Falls Short on Final Day of Sportco Kick-Off Classic


Feb. 9, 2013

Final Stats

UCF Athletics Social Media Directory

By Andrew Jennette

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team was looking to bounce back after a tough opening day at the Sportco Kick-Off Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. The Knights (0-4) played much better on Saturday, but were unable to come away with a win after they were defeated by No. 18 Louisville, 5-3, before being topped by host UNLV, 12-10, in eight innings.

Game 1: No. 18 Louisville 5, UCF 3 - Box Score

Sophomore Mackenzie Audas made her season debut and settled down nicely after a rocky start. Audas allowed three runs on four hits in the first inning, but allowed just three hits over the next five innings while picking up five strikeouts. Unfortunately the Knights were never able to take a lead in the game and dropped the hard-fought contest.

UCF broke through in the top of the fourth when sophomore Kahley Novak led off the frame with a bunt single. Novak, running on the next pitch, rounded second and took third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Mariah Garcia. Using her speed to put pressure on the defense, Novak forced a late and errant throw at third and strolled home to give the Knights their first run of the game. Novak has reached base nine times in 13 plate appearances so far this season.

Senior Hailey Barraco tied the game at three in the top of the fifth inning with a two-run homer to left. Barraco, who had two hits in 32 games last season, now has three hits and two home runs in just three games this season. UCF, however, was unable to maintain the momentum as Louisville scored runs in the sixth and seventh to seal the victory.

Game 2: UNLV 12, UCF 10 (Eight Innings) - Box Score

A wild rally came up just short for the Knights as they erased a nine-run deficit to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh only to fall in the eighth. Freshman Jasmine Acevedo had a huge game as she ripped a pair of two-run doubles to pick up a career-best four RBI. Garcia also knocked in two runs with a pair of doubles. Overall the Knights hit six doubles in the game.

Freshmen Kaitlyn Steckel and Shelby Turnier each picked up their first-career hits for the Knights with Steckel also earning her first career RBI with a double in the bottom of the third. The Knights tied the game in the bottom of the seventh when senior Lauren Aldridge reached on a fielder's choice and both she and freshman pinch runner Brittanne Gasser came around to score on a throwing error.

Freshman Mackenzie Huhn made her first-career start for the Knights, becoming the first left-handed pitcher to start for the Knights since 2004. After two scoreless innings, UNLV broke the game open in the top of the third as 13 hitters came to the plate en route to nine Rebels' runs. Freshman Lauren Dannelley made her NCAA debut in relief of Huhn and allowed 1 run on 2 hits in 3.1 innings. Senior Alex Hartshorn was pegged with the loss after allowing two unearned runs due to international rules in the top of the eighth.

The Knights return to action next Wednesday with the 2013 home opener against in-state foe North Florida. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET.

The Black and Gold will play 28 home games at the UCF Softball Complex, with season tickets for the 2012 season costing only $30. Tickets are available for purchase online at UCFAthletics.com and Ticketmaster.com, or by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000.