Feb. 22, 2013
By Andrew Jennette
CLEARWATER, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Freshman Shelby Turnier had a huge day as the UCF softball team won both of its games on Friday at the NFCA Lead-Off Classic in Clearwater, Fla. Turnier had the game-winning, walk-off hit as the Knights topped Indiana, 3-2, in eight innings in game one. In game two, Turnier picked up her third-consecutive victory in the circle as UCF blanked Fordham, 4-0, at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex.
Game 1: UCF 3, Indiana 2 (eight innings) - Box Score
Turnier, making her first-career start in the outfield, made the most of her opportunity as she went a career-best 3-for-4 at the plate. With a runner on third base and just one out in the eighth, Turnier stepped in and blasted a single that one hopped the wall to score the game-winning run for the Knights.
"I've wanted to play in the outfield all year," Turnier said after the game. "Coach Gillispie called my number and put faith in me to go out and produce. I had been struggling at the plate a little bit, but today I saw the ball well and was fortunate enough to put a good swing on one in the eighth to help us win the game."
Sophomore Mackenzie Audas, who had not been called for an illegal pitch since April 1, 2012, was tagged with a UCF-record six illegal pitches on the afternoon, including two that allowed both Hoosiers' runs to score in the sixth inning. Despite the miscues, Audas was strong in the circle as she earned her fourth victory of the year after allowing just four hits while striking out eight and going the distance.
The Black and Gold got on the board first in the third inning when sophomore Farrah Sullivan hit an RBI single that scored freshman Kaitlyn Steckel who had previously doubled. Later in the inning, freshman Kalyn Cenal smacked an RBI single through the left side to score senior pinch runner Lauren Aldridge who ran for Sullivan.
Game 2: UCF 4, Fordham 0 - Box Score
With just 20 minutes between games to prepare, Turnier made the transition from hitting and playing the field to the pitching circle look seamless. The Palm Beach Gardens native pitched six innings and allowed just two hits and no runs while walking just one and striking out five. Turnier worked quickly and needed just 69 pitches to get through her six frames of work. Freshman Mackenzie Huhn came in for her second relief appearance of the season and finished the Rams off with a perfect seventh inning.
"Shelby worked really fast today," Luers-Gillispie said. "We know she's at her best when she trusts her stuff and aggressively attacks hitters. This game only took about an hour and fifteen minutes because she didn't allow their hitters to get comfortable in the box. We're very proud of how she played both as a hitter and in the circle."
The Knights used their speed to put pressure on Fordham's defense throughout the contest. UCF got on the board in the second inning when freshman pinch runner Lindsay Neyland raced home from third on a wild pitch. Later in the game, the Black and Gold showed off even more quickness as sophomore Kahley Novak swiped a pair of bases and scored on a perfectly-executed squeeze play by Cenal. Aldridge and freshman Taylor Wagner also stole bases in the frame with Aldridge scoring the Knights' third run after forcing an errant throw on a pick-off. UCF concluded the scoring after an RBI single by freshman Samantha McCloskey scored Wagner.
The Knights return to action Saturday as the NFCA Lead-Off Classic continues for the second day. UCF takes on DePaul at 1 p.m. with the second contest against Southern Illinois to follow at 6 p.m.