Peppering the Pirates

GREEVILLE, N.C. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF used a 10-run fifth inning to come-from-behind and run-rule East Carolina, 12-3, on Saturday afternoon. The bounce-back victory for the Knights evened the series with the rubber match set for noon Sunday at the ECU Softball Stadium.

"It was all about getting back and focused again on what we need to take care of during a game," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "The players came out, answered back and got the hits and RBI that we needed. Alea [White] did a great job of keeping us in the game."

A complete-game victory in the circle was notched by freshman Alea White (11-10). The Land O'Lakes, Fla., native scatted six hits and three runs during the outing.

Freshman third baseman Jazmine Esparza paced the Knights with three RBI on two hits, including a double, while classmate Kyra Klarkowski drove in a pair of runs. Two base knocks and two RBI were added by senior designated player Linnea Goodman. A two-hit contest was also notched by senior shortstop Brittany Solis.

"We all seemed to come together and said that we were going to play as a team," Esparza said. "We played as one and it was an amazing outcome. The freshmen stepped up, but we all knew that we had a part and did our job."

The 10 Spot

  • After ECU took a 3-2 lead in the fourth frame, the Knights responded by batting around in the fifth inning and scoring 10 runs on seven hits.
  • A one-out error started the rally, which was followed by a single up the middle by junior second baseman Courtney Rotton.
  • Freshman third baseman Jazmine Esparza knotted the contest, 3-3, with an RBI single through the left side.
  • Delivering a base knock to left was sophomore Kyra Klarkowski, who drove in a pair that put the Knights on top, 5-3.
  • Doubling down the left field line was senior right fielder Willow Kalinen, extending the lead to 6-3.
  • After a single by senior shortstop Brittany Solis, freshman catcher Autumn Gillispie put down a successful squeeze bunt, 7-3.
  • A base hit to left center by senior designated player Linnea Goodman pushed the advantage to 9-3.
  • After a scoring on a wild pitch on strike three, the Knights upped the lead to 10-3 on a fielding miscue.
  • With two outs, Esparza capped the frame with a two-run double down the left field line, 12-3.

"When everything is going our way, we get loud and rowdy. We keep the momentum up and on our side. We stay on top of everything and keep it going throughout our lineup."
-Freshman 3B Jazmine Esparza

Striking First

  • The Knights moved to 9-3 when getting on the board first with a pair of runs in the top of the second inning.
  • A leadoff walk was drawn by freshman left fielder Kyra Klarkowski.
  • After a sac bunt, senior shortstop Brittany Solis delivered an RBI single to left field.
  • The second run was pushed across on a two-out base knock by senior designated player Linnea Goodman.

"Today was huge because we were able to get on the board early and see our good hitters come through. We had one through nine coming up with some big hits. There were some big answers on RBI by our freshmen [Jazmine Esparza] and [Kyra Klarkowski]."
-Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie

Next Up
The Knights rubber match of the series is set for noon Sunday.

UCF returns home on April 13 for a nationally televised contest against South Florida at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

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