Feb. 23, 2014
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Nate Blythe
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF softball was one out away from sending No. 7/9 Alabama (10-2) to extra innings before falling in walk-off fashion, 1-0, on Saturday. The Knights were unable to regroup in the night cap, dropping an 8-2 contest to McNeese State, who scored five unanswered runs.
Sophomore pitcher Mackenzie Audas matched Alabama starter Leslie Jury in a classic pitcher's duel at Rhoads Stadium. Audas went 6.2 innings, yielding five hits and fanned two, while Jury (5-1) gave up two hits and fanned six.
In the seventh inning, the Crimson Tide were down to their last at bat and loaded the bases with one out on a single and pair of walks. Audas bounced back inducing a ground ball to second to get the important second out.
With the bases full, Molly Fitchner then sent a fly ball to shallow right center that fell off the glove of the outfielder for the walk-off win.
Holding Alabama to a single run at Rhoads Stadium is a feat in itself, the last time it occur was in a 4-1 loss against Florida on May 4, 2012. Missouri was the last non-conference team to keep Alabama to at least one run at Rhoads Stadium in a 9-0 loss on Feb. 13, 2010.
UCF had a couple of opportunities, threatening in the first after freshman outfielder Linnea Goodman reached on a muffed throw and stole second, but was left on base.
In the fourth, sophomore catcher Kalyn Cenal singled to center and pinch runner Mariah Garcia stole second to move into scoring position.
The Knights defense came up with two crucial outs in the fifth as junior second baseman Kahley Novak made an over the shoulder catch for the first out ranging into center field. Sophomore right fielder Kirsten Foster tracked down a fly ball at the edge of the warning track in foul territory.
A one-out single and stolen by junior outfielder Maddy Schroeder provided the Knights with another opportunity with a runner in scoring position. Jury was up to the task in keeping the game scoreless.
After a leadoff single for the Tide in the sixth, a ground ball to Audas led to a double play turned by the freshman shortstop Brittany Solis to stop a rally.
In the game two, Jamie Allred picked up the victory for McNeese State in the circle, improving to 5-3 with six strikeouts. Sophomore pitcher Shelby Turnier (4-1) took the loss for the Knights with five strikeouts over the first four innings.
A pair of doubles by Alanna DiVittorio and Ashley Modzelewski pushed across the first run of the game in the third. McNeese State extended its lead in the fourth, on a two-run homer by Emily Vincent, 3-2.
The Knights came back in the second as Goodman reached on a muffed throw at first on a grounder to short. A walk issued to junior third baseman Farrah Sullivan and sac bunt by Turnier moved the runners into scoring position.
Putting UCF on the scoreboard was sophomore shortstop Brittany Solis with a single to right. Then, sophomore first baseman Samantha McCloskey beat out an infield base hit to short, cut the deficit to 3-2.
With Audas entering the game in the circle, DiVittorio singled to start the fourth, then Lauren Langner executed a hit and run to put runners on the corners. A squeeze play by Katie Roux brought across one run before a foul sac fly increased the lead back to three, 5-2.
McNeese State added to its lead in the sixth making reliever Jamie Ujvari pay for a leadoff walk with a single by Goree through the left side.
Freshman Lena Springer was given the nod in the circle for the seventh and bounced back after giving up a two-run blast to Modzelewski to retire the side.
In the final chance for the Knights, sophomore pinch hitter Brittanne Gasser singled through the left side.
UCF wraps up the Easton Bama Bash with an 11 a.m. contest against Virginia Tech. The contest was originally set for 12 p.m., but moved up to accommodate travel plans.
The Knights return to the UCF Softball Complex on Feb. 28 for a doubleheader against SIUE and Princeton at 10 a.m. The Holiday Inn/UCF Tournament continues on Mar. 1 with College of Charleston and SIU facing UCF.