March 16, 2011
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By Sarah Tarasewicz
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team scored four unanswered runs, which included two in the sixth inning, to defeat visiting Liberty (7-6), 4-3, in extra innings Wednesday night at the UCF Softball Complex. Senior Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) posted a walk-off single with two runners on in the bottom of the eighth inning to improve the Knights' record to 10-17 on the season.
"I got the job done, and that's all that matters," Swan said of her game-winning single.
Swan was one of six Knights to post at least one hit in the victory, with Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) and Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) leading the Black and Gold with two hits apiece. Land posted a home run, a sacrifice hit and stole a base and Jest recorded a pair of singles to extend her program-record hitting streak to 17 games and also stole a base.
Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa), Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) and Kellie Todd (Ocala, Fla.) accounted for the Knights' additional three hits, with McClain and Tiffany Lane (Moreno Valley, Calif.) each scoring a run.
The win in the circle went to Lacey Dinney (Binbrook, Ont.), who shut down the Flames' bats in 3.0 innings of relief. The hurler walked two and struck out two, while not giving up a hit, to improve her record to 7-4 on the year.
Freshman Haley Douglas (Pleasanton, Calif.) got the start on the mound for the Knights after missing the last 15 games with an injury. In her return, Douglas allowed two runs on four hits, while walking two and striking out three, in 4.0 innings pitched. Diana Rojas (Miami, Fla.) also saw action in the circle for the Knights, giving up one run on one hit in 1.0 inning of relief.
The Flames scored first in the contest, posting two runs in the top of the third on a two-run home run by Jenny Law, before extending their lead to three runs in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly.
UCF put its first run on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning when Land led off the frame with a solo home run to right centerfield, cutting Liberty's lead to two runs. McClain followed with a single through the left side and stole second base to move into scoring position. A ground ball to the right side moved McClain to third, before a two-out error by the Flames' second baseman allowed the Black and Gold to pull within one.
The Knights evened the score in the bottom of the seventh inning after Jest reached on a one-out single up the middle and advanced to second when Swan was given first base on a catcher's interference call. On Land's sacrifice bunt, the pitcher made an errant throw to first base that pulled the first baseman off the bag, allowing Jest to come around for the game-tying score. Liberty intentionally walked McClain to load the bases with one out, but managed to get out of the jam to send the game into extra innings.
Dinney and the Knights retired the side in order in the top of the eighth inning to give themselves the opportunity to put the game away in the bottom of the frame. Lane drew a walk to start a two-out rally, moved to second on an illegal pitch and advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Jest then walked to put two runners on base, before stealing second to put two runners in scoring position for Swan, who hit a walk-off single to the right side to end the game and give the Black and Gold the come-from-behind victory.
UCF returns to action this weekend when it travels to Tulsa for a three-game Conference USA series vs. the Golden Hurricane.
The Knights have 11 home games remaining on their 2011 schedule, including a contest vs. in-state rival Florida State on April 6, with season tickets for the 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.