Steckel's Grand Slam Sends UCF Softball over Marist, 11-0



March 17, 2014

Final Stats

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By Nate Blythe

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ORLANDO, Fla. ( - UCF sophomore pinch hitter Kaitlyn Steckel, who started her Knights career with the women's soccer program, blasted a walk-off grand slam to left to secure an 11-0 five-inning victory over Marist on Monday. The Red Foxes broke up a no-hit bid by sophomore pitcher Shelby Turnier, who finished with a school-record 11 strikeouts in a five-inning game, with two outs in the fifth at the UCF Softball Complex.

The Palm Beach Gardens native's latest accomplishment was one more strikeout than the 10 that Allison Kime fanned in a 9-1 five-inning victory over Jacksonville on March 19, 2008. Turnier (12-1) also holds the school strikeout record for a regulation game with 16 against Bowling Green earlier this season on March 9.

The Knights (20-9) were scheduled to play the Netherlands National Team, but the contest was cancelled due to the rain that fell all afternoon at the UCF Softball Complex. The Netherlands was leading Marist (5-9) 4-0 after two innings before the tarp was placed on the field.

A pair of 2-for-2 performances at the pate were registered by junior outfielder Kahley Novak and sophomore first baseman Samantha McCloskey. Sophomore designated player Jessica Ujvari put the Knights ahead 4-0 on the three-run round tripper over the batter's eye in center field during the third.

UCF manufactured a run in the first inning on a Novak infield base hit to short. She stole second and advanced to third on a throwing mistake by the catcher before scoring on a groundout by junior third baseman Farrah Sullivan.

Turnier, who pushed her shutout streak to 36 innings in the victory, retired the first six batters via strikeouts after a walk on a 3-2 count to start the game.

After Je. Ujvari's homer in the third, UCF tacked on another run in the fourth on a single up the middle by sophomore catcher Kalyn Cenal. The Tampa native drove in McCloskey, who drew a four-pitch walk to start the frame.

The most runs scored in an inning by the Knights this season came in the six-run fifth on four hits. Sullivan began the frame by finding the right centerfield gap. A single by sophomore outfielder Mariah Garcia to second loaded the bases after a walk issued to Je. Ujvari.

Notching a single through the right side was McCloskey before freshman pinch runner Blaire Kelley scored the seventh run on a wild pitch. With Solis at the plate, lightning delayed the game for 25 minutes.

Following a walk to load the bases, Steckel worked a 3-2 count before connecting on a grand slam to left. The blast was the fifth hit of the season for the Tampa native and first-career home run.

This was the second pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam of the season for UCF with Je. Ujvari connecting on one to end the 9-1 five-inning win over Boston College on March 5.

The loss for the Red Foxes was given to Janine Lalli (1-4), who fanned one in four innings of work. Haley Birmbaum beat out a bunt single with two outs in the fifth before Rebecca Freeman recorded a bloop base hit to left center.

The Knights host Purdue and Iona in a doubleheader on Tuesday beginning at 1 p.m. The remaining "It's Your Lucky Knight" T-shirts will be given away as promotions during the twin bill.



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