Topping Texas Tech

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF broke open a 5-4 game in the seventh inning by scoring eight times to secure a 13-4 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday at the Easton Bama Bash. Freshman catcher Autumn Gillespie and junior designated player Courtney Rotton each recorded three hits, while a three-run homer by senior shortstop Brittany Solis provided the Knights with some early insurance runs at Rhoads Stadium.

"We knew that Texas Tech was going to be tough and had to be playing our best defense against them," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "Alea [White] and [Manami Calixto] did a great job on the mound for us. Autumn [Gillespie] again made some great calls behind the plate. Our offense just exploded today. I was so excited to see our players stepping up and having confidence within themselves."

Freshman Alea White (2-3) earned the victory and fanned one hitter over five innings of work. The first save of the season for the Knights (6-5) was tallied by senior Manami Calixto (1), who notched a pair of strikeouts in two frames.

"Confidence has definitely been shown by our young hitters and now we are seeing that confidence in one through nine [in the order]," Solis said. "They are learning that if they don't execute at the plate, then the person behind them has their back. That is what is bringing this team closer together and helping us finish games like this."

After the top of the fifth frame, the Knights held a 5-1 advantage before Texas Tech (7-7) put up three runs on a bases clearing triple by Kaiani Ramsey. Both teams were held off the board in the sixth inning before the Knights offense put up a crooked number.

Offensive Explosion

  • UCF batted around and scored eight runs on seven hits to blow the game wide open in the seventh inning.
  • The Knights saw contributions from pinch hitters Jazmine Esparza and Kyra Klarkowski that kept the frame going.
  • After freshman third baseman Tamesha Glover's infield hit, a sac bunt by senior left fielder Linnea Goodman and throwing error put runners on the corners.
  • Junior designated player Courtney Rotton and sophomore second baseman Cassady Brewer connected on back-to-back, run-scoring singles, 8-4.
  • A walk issued to Klarkowski loaded the bases for Esparza, who drove in two with a double to left center, 9-4.
  • The third hit of the game was picked up by freshman catcher Gillespie on an RBI single through the left side, 10-4.
  • The Knights kept finding holes in the infield as senior right fielder Willow Kalinen and Glover each pushed across a run with base knocks, 12-4.
  • An RBI groundout by Goodman capped the scoring for UCF.

"When you have 12 RBI on 15 hits, it tells me that our players were really working and fighting for each other. They were getting runners on, moving them around and doing things that they weren't doing earlier, but now they have confidence in each other and are getting it done."
-Head Coach Renee Luers-Gillispie

Britt's Big Fly

  • Senior shortstop Brittany Solis went the other way and curled a three-run shot around the right field foul pole to put the Knights on top, 4-0, in the third inning.
  • Solis, who serves as the UCF Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) president, belted her first round tripper of the season and the ninth of her career.

"My part about getting hits like [a home run] is coming home and seeing my teammates even more excited for my hit than I am."
-Senior shortstop Brittany Solis

Noting the Knights

  • A clutch two-out single by freshman catcher Autumn Gillespie allowed UCF to draw first blood in the second inning.
  • UCF turned its second double play of the season to end the second inning. Freshman third baseman Tamesha Glover jumped up, caught a liner and quickly sent a dart to first base, doubling off the runner.
  • The Knights applied pressure to the Red Raiders' defense in the fifth inning and were rewarded. Following base hits by senior Linnea Goodman and sophomore Cassady Brewer, a failed pickoff attempt sent the runner home, 5-1.

Next Up
UCF rounds out the Easton Bama Bash at 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday vs. No. 10 Alabama. The next home contest for the Knights is set for Friday at 3 p.m. against Providence at the UCF Softball Complex.

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