Feb. 10, 2012
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By Andrew Jennette
CLERMONT, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – The UCF softball team (2-0) won both games of their double header vs. Ohio State and Florida A&M on the opening day of Dot Richardson’s National Collegiate Softball Invitational at the National Training Center softball complex. The Knights defeated the Buckeyes in the opening game 2-1 before mercy ruling the Rattlers 9-1 in five innings in the night cap.
Game One – UCF 2, Ohio State 1 – Box Score
Freshman Mackenzie Audas (Plant City, Fla.) earned her first-career win in her first collegiate game after only allowing one earned run on six hits in seven innings to help the Knights earn a 2-1 victory over Ohio State (0-1) in their opening game of the Dot Richardson’s National Collegiate Softball Invitational.
The young hurler was dominant from the onset as she struck out the first batter she faced and five of the first eight she retired. Audas tallied nine strikeouts total and didn’t issue a single walk in the complete game performance as she improved to 1-0 on the season.
Senior Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) provided the game-winning RBI in the fifth inning when she dropped a one out opposite-field single into left field. This base hit scored fellow senior Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) who was on third base after ripping a triple deep into the right-center field gap.
Swan also scored the first run of the game after she drew a lead-off walk in the third inning. She was sacrificed over to second by Jest and then sacrificed over to third by freshman leadoff hitter Kahley Novak (Clermont, Fla.). With two outs, junior Danielle Brewer (Apopka, Fla.) hit a routine ground ball to second base that was bobbled which allowed Swan to score an unearned run and Brewer to reach base on the miscue.
The Buckeyes quickly tied the game at 1 in the top of the fourth on a single, sacrifice bunt, and RBI single to left field. Audas, however, bounced back from the troublesome inning and retired eight of the last nine batters she faced. Audas was assisted by an inning ending caught stealing from junior catcher Alena Murgatroyd (Lancaster, Calif.) in the fifth.
Junior Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) was the first Knight to reach base on the young season as she used her speed to force a high throw from the Buckeyes pitcher after a chopper back to the mound that was scored an error. Menendez later perfectly placed a double down the left field line in the sixth for the Knights second extra base hit of the game.
The Buckeyes were able to get the tying run into scoring position in the bottom of the seventh after a single and a stolen base, but Audas saved her best for last and struck out Buckeyes left fielder Megan Coletta to end the game.
Game Two – UCF 9, Florida A&M 1 (5 innings) - Box Score
UCF used aggressive base running and timely hitting to defeat Florida A&M 9-1 in five rain-soaked innings in the second game of Friday’s double header at Dot Richardson’s National Collegiate Softball Invitational. The win gave the Knights their first 2-0 start since the 2004 season.
The Knights got five stolen bases from five different players and constantly put the Rattlers’ defense under pressure by taking extra bases at every opportunity. UCF is a perfect 7-7 in stolen base attempts through two games this season.
The black and gold jumped on FAMU early as Brewer roped a double to left field, advanced to third on senior Natalie Land’s (Mayo, Fla.) infield single, and scored on Menendez’s fielder’s choice to first base. Freshman Farrah Sullivan (Waynesboro, Miss.) then knocked in Land from second with an RBI single up the middle for her first hit of the season. Senior Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) finished the first inning scoring with a sacrifice fly to stake the Knights to a 3-0 first inning lead.
Senior transfer Ali Schmidt (Cordova, Md.), making her first Division I collegiate start, picked up her first career win after pitching five innings and allowing just three hits and one unearned run. Schmidt attacked hitters early and cruised through the first three innings before slightly struggling with wet conditions that made gripping the ball difficult. Schmidt allowed five base runners in the final two innings, but managed to escape without allowing any additional runs.
UCF put another crooked number up in the second inning as Jest hit a one out infield single, stole second, and scored on a throwing error by the Rattlers off the bat of Brewer. Land then knocked in the second run of the inning with a stand-up RBI triple that was hammered into the right centerfield gap. The Knights aggressiveness on the bases continued as Land quickly scored on a passed ball.
The black and gold scored two more in the fourth inning as Novak reached base with a perfectly placed bunt single down the third base line. Novak stole second and later scored on a fielding error by the Rattlers off the bat of Brewer. Menendez then hit a single through the open right side and Brewer took home after a missed catch error by the Rattlers for the Knights fourth unearned run of the game.
With rain bearing down on the field and a steady drizzle ready to turn into a downpour, the Knights quickly finished off the mercy rule victory in the fifth inning as Swan blasted a double into the right-centerfield gap to score Perez from second.
The Knights return to action at Dot Richardson’s National Collegiate Softball Invitational on Saturday with games against both Bethune-Cookman and Chattanooga at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.
The Black and Gold will play 30 home games at the UCF Softball Complex, with season tickets for the 2012 season costing only $40. Tickets are available for purchase online at UCFAthletics.com and Ticketmaster.com, or by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000.