ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The formula looked familiar for the UCF softball team as it used dominant pitching combined with timely clutch hitting to earn its first victory of the 2013 season. It took an extra frame for the Knights (1-5), but they earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over UT-Arlington (1-1) in eight innings on Friday at the UCF Softball Complex.
With international rules going into effect in the eighth inning, the Knights went into the extended action with sophomore Kahley Novak placed on second base. Novak, the Knights' fastest player, immediately stole third to move just 70 feet away from winning the game. Freshman Mariah Garcia stepped in next and crushed a double that one-hopped the wall and allowed Novak to coast home and get mobbed by her teammates at the plate.
Sophomore Mackenzie Audas made her second start of the week and looked every bit as dominant as she did during her record-setting 2012 season. The Plant City native went eight innings and allowed just three hits and no walks while striking out a season-high 12. Audas lowered her season ERA to 1.67 and now has 24 strikeouts in 21 innings on the year.
The Black and Gold's bats were quiet most of the night as they didn't record their first hit until the bottom of the fifth inning. The Knights' best chance to score before extras came in the sixth when sophomores Farrah Sullivan and Hayley Barrow, each making their first starts of the season, recorded back-to-back singles. Freshman Samantha McCloskey worked a walk to load the bases with just one out, but a strikeout and popup ended the scoring chance.
The Knights return to action Saturday as the UCF Holiday Inn Select Invitational continues on the second off three scheduled days. UCF takes on Florida A&M at 1 p.m. followed by an evening tilt with South Carolina at 6 p.m.
The Black and Gold have 26 home games remaining at the UCF Softball Complex, with season tickets for the 2013 season costing only $30. Single game and season tickets are available for purchase online at UCFAthletics.com and Ticketmaster.com, or by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000.