ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – The UCF softball team came into the UCF Holiday Inn Select Invitational with the goals of winning the tournament and getting back to .500 for the season. The Knights (5-5) accomplished both with a pair of Sunday victories at the UCF Softball Complex. UCF topped Buffalo, 6-1, in the opening contest before coming back with a 9-1 run-rule victory over Florida A&M in five innings.
With the Knights leading 2-0, sophomore Farrah Sullivan brought the fans to their feet with a massive grand slam that landed well over the wall in left field in the bottom of the fourth inning. It was Sullivan’s first home run of the season, first-career grand slam and the first slam for the Knights since current assistant coach Hillary Barrow hit one as a player in the 2010 NCAA Regionals against FIU. Sullivan is now hitting .412 with an 1.059 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) on the season.
Freshman Shelby Turnier earned her second victory of the tournament after going six innings and allowing just two hits and one run. Turnier allowed seven hits and two runs with 12 strikeouts over 13 innings for the weekend. Freshman Mackenzie Huhn made her home debut and pitched one scoreless inning of relief. Huhn has seen more action than expected early on this season and has responded well with a 2.47 ERA in 5.2 innings.
The Black and Gold got the scoring underway in the third when a single, error and walk loaded the bases for freshman Kalyn Cenal. Cenal stepped in and smacked a two-run single to give the Knights a 2-0 advantage. The Tampa native was the Knights top hitter for the weekend as she went 5-for-12 (.417) with four RBI’s in the tournament.
Freshman Samantha McCloskey had a monster game as she went 3-for-3 with a career high five RBI. The five runs batted in were the most by a Knight this season. McCloskey got the scoring started with a two-run double in the first, came back with another two-run double in third and capped her day with an RBI single in the fifth. McCloskey was backed by Sullivan who went 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Sophomore Mackenzie Audas won her third start in as many tries over the weekend after allowing four hits and one run in five innings of work. Despite admittedly not having her best stuff on the weekend, Audas went 3-0 with a 0.70 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 20 innings.
The Black and Gold closed out the tournament in style in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman Taylor Wagner got things started with her first-career hit. After three more singles, the Knights earned the mercy-rule victory after a sacrifice fly by freshman Jasmine Acevedo, an RBI groundout by freshman Kaitlyn Steckel and a walk-off RBI single by sophomore Maddy Schroeder.
The Knights return to action Wednesday at home against in-state rival No. 25 Florida State. Last season the Seminoles defeated the Knights in Tallahassee with a walk-off grand slam in extra innings.
The Black and Gold have 22 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.