UCF Softball Splits C-USA Opening Doubleheader with Memphis


GO KNIGHTS Natalie Land had three hits in the Knights' doubleheader against Memphis Saturday afternoon.
GO KNIGHTS
Natalie Land had three hits in the Knights' doubleheader against Memphis Saturday afternoon.
GO KNIGHTS

March 13, 2010

Game One Box Score | Game Two Box Score

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After rained forced the UCF (14-10, 1-1 C-USA) softball team to cancel its Conference USA opener the night before, the squad began its 2010 league schedule with a doubleheader split with Memphis (11-8, 1-1 C-USA) Saturday afternoon at the UCF Softball Complex. The Knights dropped the day's first contest, 1-0, before coming back to post a, 2-1, victory in the nightcap.

"I was really proud of the way the team battled back to win the second game today," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "However, we need our offense to do a better job of backing up our pitchers, because they have been consistently performing well in the circle for us."

Ashley Schmitt (Tampa, Fla.) picked up her second win in as many starts in game two, allowing only two hits and one unearned run, while striking out two in a complete-game outing.

"With it being my first Conference USA game, I was a little nervous," Schmitt said. "But, everyone in the field was working their hardest behind me, so I knew that I was going to be okay. Ashleigh and Abby really helped me a lot when I was out there. Ashleigh was giving me advice in the dugout and Abby called a great game behind the plate."

Ashleigh Cole (Pace, Fla.) was tagged with the loss in the opening game despite only giving up a single run on five hits with seven strikeouts. The loss dropped the senior's record to 9-5 on the year.

Offensively, sophomore Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) paced the Black and Gold in the pair of games with three hits, one run scored, a walk and a stolen base, while Hillary Barrow (Miami, Fla.) went 2-for-4 on the day with one run scored and a sacrifice hit.

 

 

"I struggled a little bit hitting at the beginning of the season," Land said. "But I think I have finally found my groove. Every time I step into the batter's box, I just feel comfortable now."

Also coming up big for the Knights' offense was freshman Arielle Palafox (Lakewood, Calif.). The first baseman had a double and two RBI, which included the game-winning knock in the nightcap.

"When we went down by a run after the first inning, I knew I needed to do something to give the team a spark," Palafox said. "I just had a really good feeling about that at bat before I even stepped into the box."

The Knights managed five hits in their first game of the day, but could not bring any runs around to score as they stranded six runners on base. Barrow had two of the team's hits in the contest, while Land, Mary Helen Tyler (Marianna, Fla.) and Morgan Bullard (Columbia, S.C.) each added one hit apiece.

Memphis struck first in the second game with a run in the top of the first inning, before UCF pushed across its first runs of the day in the third inning. Land started the inning off with a one-out single to right centerfield and stole second to put herself into scoring position. Barrow then reached first base after getting pegged by a delivery from Memphis starter, Carly Hummel. That is when Palafox cranked a double to left centerfield to give the Black and Gold a one-run advantage.

Schmitt and UCF's defense held their own in the field to make the lead stick, going on to win the contest, 2-1.

The Knights return to action Wednesday when they host Drake in a 5:30 p.m. contest at the UCF Softball Complex.

Season tickets for the 2010 season are only $40 and are on sale now, while single-game tickets are also available for purchase. Tickets can be purchased online at UCFAthletics.com or through the Athletics Ticket Office by calling (407) 823-1000.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.

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