ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – The UCF softball team needed a strong bounce-back performance after a difficult stretch of play last week. The Knights (15-12) got the effort they were looking for as a three-run second inning, sparked by a Samantha McCloskey two-run homer, was all the team would need to top Liberty, 3-0, on Wednesday at the UCF Softball Complex.
Known for her power ability in high school, McCloskey came into her 20th-career game with no home runs and just four extra-base hits for the season. Facing a 3-2 count with fellow freshman Kirsten Foster at second, McCloskey crushed the payoff pitch well over the wall in left-center to give the Knights an advantage they would not relinquish. The two RBI also gave the Detroit native 13 on the year, good for the best mark on the team. McCloskey also showed off some surprising speed in the fifth when she stole her first-career base after drawing a leadoff walk.
Sophomore Mackenzie Audas broke another school record as she now holds the all-time mark for saves in a career with four. The Plant City native struck out one in a perfect seventh inning of relief of starter Shelby Turnier. Turnier was terrific in the circle as she allowed just three hits and a walk in six innings of work. Working fast and attacking hitters, Turnier needed just 83 pitches to earn her eighth victory of the season and lower her ERA to a team-best 2.09.
Freshman Kalyn Cenal got the start at catcher for just the second time this season and got the scoring started for the Knights with an RBI single in the second inning. Cenal’s base hit scored Turnier, who led off the frame with a double, and was the Tampa native’s 11th RBI of the season.
The Knights return to action Saturday as Conference USA play continues in Houston. UCF will battle the Cougars in a three-game series beginning with a Saturday doubleheader at 1 p.m. The series will wrap up with a single contest on Sunday also at 1 p.m.
The Black and Gold have 12 home games remaining at the UCF Softball Complex, with season tickets for the remainder of 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.