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Freshmen Lead Way vs. Tide

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF freshmen Kamryn Toney, Autumn Gillespie and Tamesha Glover played key roles in a tight 3-2 loss at No. 10 Alabama at Rhoads Stadium. The Easton Bama Bash All-Tournament Team included junior designated player Courtney Rotton, Glover and Toney.

Four strong innings were logged by Toney, who allowed just three hits and one run, in relief of senior Manami Calixto. The Covington, Ga., native also notched a strikeout for UCF (6-6) against the high-powered Alabama (13-2) offense.

"Definitely, we saw progress with our pitching staff," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "[Manami Calixto] did a nice job of keeping them off balance for a couple of innings. Then, [Kamryn Toney] came in relief and was incredible with mixing speeds and hitting her spots over the final four innings.

"The game came down to one pitch, which many times is the difference between a win or loss. We got a pitch a little high in the zone and they took advantage of it with a home run. We have to learn from that and understand how important it is that every pitch counts."

That pitch was driven by Reagan Dykes over the fence in left to provide Alabama with a 2-0 lead in the second inning. The Tide tacked on their third run one frame later on a sac fly.

The spark that the Knights needed was Glover being plunked by a 3-2 pitch to start the fourth inning. Rotton, who notched her third hit in two games vs. the Tide, delivered a one-out double off the fence in straight-away center, putting two runners in scoring position. The Knights pushed across a run on a passed ball.

With one out in the seventh inning, the first pitch that Gillespie saw was belted over the fence in left field, which cut the Knights' deficit to 3-2. It was the first homer of the season for the Redland, Calif., native.

The Knights were provided a golden opportunity in the sixth inning to have a big frame, but were unable able to take advantage of two Alabama mistakes followed by a one-out single by sophomore Cassady Brewer. UCF left the bases loaded in the frame as Alabama's Alexis Osario (6-1) notched two of her 14 strikeouts.

UCF turned its third double play of the season in the fourth frame. Gillespie caught a bunt that was popped up and doubled off the runner at first base.

Next Up
UCF heads to Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. The Knights start a 19-game home stand on Friday at 3 p.m. against Providence at the UCF Softball Complex.

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