Daily Double

LONGWOOD, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF softball earned a daily double Saturday at the Friends of Jaclyn Invitational, grabbing a pair of victories over Providence and Illinois. The Knights (3-1) started the day holding off the Friars for a 4-2 win, then capping off the day with a comeback, extra-inning triumph over the Fighting Illini, 3-2.

The two sides remained in a stalemate through the first two innings until UCF plated two runs in the third. Freshman Denali Schappacher recorded a leadoff single and advanced to second on wild pitch. Two batters later, Megan Greenwell earned a one-out walk. Two batters later, the outfield duo found themselves crossing home thanks to a two-out single by Courtney Rotton.

Two runs were plenty for sophomore pitcher Damara Begin, who was stifling PC batters and keeping them scoreless until the sixth when they scooted one run in.

Heading into the seventh, UCF was looking for one or more insurance runs, so they went to small ball hoping to push someone around. Luckily, the Knights added two runs due to well-placed bunts and aggressive baserunning. Greenwell crossed first on a wild pitch, while freshman Kendyl Lange tapped home on fellow classmate Kaitlyn Jensen's bunt single.

Providence made their final stance in the bottom, but after allowing one run, sophomore Alea White entered the game to shut down the comeback attempt and earn the save.

Begin threw six strong innings, earning her second career win and allowing just two runs on four hits.

In the nightcap of Saturday, UCF's bats went to bed early, recording just one hit in the first six innings and falling behind 2-0 to Illinois.

But once the seventh hit, the Knights' offense suddenly awoke. Rotton leadoff with a single to left and advanced during the next at bat on a sacrifice bunt. With one out, Jensen pinch hit for UCF and produced in great measure, blasting a double down the left field line and scoring Rotton.

Two batters later with Lange pinch running, it was Aubrey Johnson's turn to be the hero as she sliced a single over UI's second baseman's head, scoring Lange and tying the game, 2-2.

In extra innings, the Illini started with a runner on second per the International Tiebreaker Rule, but White shut them out, retiring the batters in order, including an emphatic strikeout to close out the side.

With momentum on their side, junior Cassady Brewer didn't want to miss an opportunity to execute for UCF with Schappacher on second. Brewer ripped a shot to left field, which enabled Shappacher to sprint around third and slide safely into home for the comeback victory.

The Knights closeout the Friends of Jaclyn Invitational at noon on Sunday against North Carolina.