April 2, 2014
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Nate Blythe
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - After North Florida put two runs on the board in the first, the UCF softball team responded with five runs over the next two innings on its way to a 5-3 victory on Wednesday at the UNF Softball Complex. Junior pitcher Mackenzie Audas tossed a five-hit complete game and struck out 10 to move to 10-8 on the season.
The Knights improved to 25-11 behind two runs driven in by sophomore catcher Kalyn Cenal. Classmate Mariah Garcia scored twice following a single and double and made a diving catch in right center to begin the bottom of the sixth inning.
After UNF (19-18) starter Kayla Goff sent down UCF in order to start the game, Danica Mandarano connected on a double and came around to score on a single by Ashley Holton. Holton crossed the plate on a wild pitch after a stolen base and throwing error.
UCF responded in the second with Garcia leading off with a single to right and stolen base. A two-out rally began with an RBI single down the right field line by sophomore Jessica Ujvari, who went on to swipe her first bag of the season.
Cenal followed the same plan by going with a pitch to right field and tying the contest at two. Freshman outfielder Blaire Kelley singled up the middle to chase the starter Goff and move pinch runner Kaitlyn Steckel into scoring position.
With the Ospreys' ace Courtney Radke now in the circle, an infield single by junior second baseman Kahley Novak, who increased her hitting streak to 10 games, and UNF throwing mistake enabled the Knights to take a 3-2 lead.
In the third inning, UCF took control of the game by scoring a pair of runs to take a 5-2 advantage. Junior third baseman Farrah Sullivan started the Knights off with a single to left before sophomore first baseman Samantha McCloskey registered a base knock through the left side.
After freshman shortstop Brittany Solis moved the runners into scoring position, a walk drawn by Je. Ujvari loaded the bases. The Knights plated two runs after Cenal was plunked by a pitch and Kelley reached on a fielder's choice where no out was recorded.
Audas sent down the Ospreys in order during the third and fourth innings before UNF scored an unearned run in the fifth on a mistake in the outfield to cut the deficit to two.
The UCF defense stepped up in the sixth inning as center fielder Garcia made a diving catch going towards the fence in deep right center to save a triple and keep the momentum with the Knights. The Houston, Texas native ended the frame by catching a fly ball in left center at the base of the fence following the ninth strikeout by Audas.
In the bottom of the seventh, Megan Mihalik started UNF off with a one-out single before a base hit by Mandarano placed runners at the corners. Audas was up to the challenge by forcing a pop up to short that ended the game.
Goff (4-8) was credited with the loss and struck out four, while Radke threw 5.1 innings with a pair of strikeouts. Two hit games were tallied by Holton and Mandarano.
The Knights continue play in the American Athletic Conference on Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader vs. Rutgers at the UCF Softball Complex. The finale of the three-game series is set for 11 a.m. on Sunday.