CLEARWATER, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team capped a highly successful tournament weekend with an 8-2 victory over UMass on Sunday afternoon at Eddie C. Moore Field on the final day of the NFCA Lead-Off Classic in Clearwater, Fla. The Knights (9-7) finished at the top of the invitational standings with a 4-1 record over the three day event.
Freshman Mackenzie Huhn earned the first victory of her career after pitching 2.2 hitless innings of relief of All-Tournament Team player Shelby Turnier. Huhn currently leads the team with a 1.50 ERA in 9.1 innings pitched. Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie stated before the game that she was planning on going with a “pitcher by committee” as the Knights were playing their fifth game in just three days. UCF got two innings out of Turnier as she allowed two unearned runs while striking out two. Sophomore Mackenzie Audas closed the game with 2.1 innings of scoreless relief as she tied the UCF all-time record by recording her third-career save.
Trailing 2-0 in the fourth, the Knights loaded the bases with one out thanks to an error, walk and single. Freshman Samantha McCloskey then stepped in as a pinch-hitter and ripped an RBI single down the line in right to score one, with an error in the outfield allowing a second run to cross for the Knights. Later in the inning, freshman Mariah Garcia crushed a two-run double the opposite way into the gap in left-center. Garcia has shown strong gap power as she leads the team with five doubles.
UCF broke the game wide open in the sixth as sophomore Hayley Barrow just missed a home run as her RBI double smashed off the wall in left. With Barrow at third, freshman Kaitlyn Steckel recorded a productive out as her groundout plated a run. Later in the frame with runners on second and third, freshman Jasmine Acevedo smoked one down the first base line that was misplayed by the Minutewomen defense and allowed both runners to come in unearned.
The Knights return to action Wednesday as the team hits the road for a midweek contest with in-state rival Stetson at 6 p.m.
The Black and Gold have 21 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.
NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic All-Tournament Team Most Valuable Player: Laura Canopy, Illinois State Most Valuable Pitcher: Sara Driesenga, Michigan Ashley Lane, Michigan Allie Braden, DePaul Kirsten Verdun, DePaul Morgan Barchan, Southern Illinois Jayna Spivey, Southern Illinois Tessa Ziemba, Hofstra Justine Vela, UC Davis Erica Field, James Madison Brianna Cherry, Louisiana-Lafayette Shellie Landry, Louisiana-Lafayette Shelby Turnier, UCF Melanie Habib, Pacific