May 3, 2014
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Nate Blythe
+ VIDEO: Coach Gillispie, 3B Sullivan, C Cenal
+ Photo Gallery
+ Game One |
+ Game Two |
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - With one of the youngest programs in the nation, the UCF softball team accomplished a program first on Saturday with a doubleheader sweep at UConn, 7-4, 3-0, to clinch the regular season title in the American Athletic Conference with a 14-3 record.
The Knights moved to 38-15 on the season and have won each series they played in the conference. Softball joins women's soccer and football in claiming The American regular season title in the inaugural year of the league.
Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie, who started the Knights program in 2002, has aided UCF to the NCAA Regionals on four occasions in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012. The Knights captured the 2005 A-Sun and 2008 C-USA Tournament Titles and are the favorites going to Houston after earning the No. 1 seed.
UCF recorded 10 hits in each game at UConn (13-36, 3-16) to stretch a streak of double-digit base knocks to five. Sophomore catcher Kalyn Cenal, who went 3-for-3 in game one, started off the Knights in a big way by blasting a grand slam to left center with two outs.
The reigning American Player of the Week Farrah Sullivan continued her torrid pace in league play with a 5-for-7 performance and two walks in the doubleheader after going 9-for-11 in the Houston series. The Waynesboro, Miss., native also drove in two runs.
The Knights opened the first game with seven-straight runs over the first three innings before the Huskies answered by scoring four times over the final three frames. After junior Mackenzie Audas threw three scoreless innings, sophomore Jaimie Ujvari finished the contest with four strikeouts to improve to 3-0 on the season.
Multi-hit games in the twin bill were also tallied by sophomore designated player Jessica Ujvari and freshman left fielder Linnea Goodman.
In her homecoming, freshman Lena Springer, a New Britain, Conn., native record a single and notched a save to close out game two. Sophomore Shelby Turnier improved to 17-10 with nine strikeouts in six innings of work.
Both teams were held off the scoreboard in game two until the fifth when sophomore outfielder Mariah Garcia singled to left following back-to-back base knocks by Sullivan and Je. Ujvari, 1-0. A sac fly off the bat of Cenal put the Knights up 2-0.
Singles by Sullivan and Cenal in the seventh enabled for Springer, who reached on a fielder's choice, to score on an errant throw to second on a stolen base by freshman pinch runner Blaire Kelley. It was the 112th stolen base of the season as the Knights added to their school record.
The bottom-half of the frame went quick as Springer sent down the Huskies in order.
Following the final out, the Knights met Springer and came together as a team to celebrate clinching The American Title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament in Houston, Texas that starts on Thursday.
The Knights wrap up the regular season on Sunday with first pitch at UConn set for noon. Fans can follow the action with all-access audio or gametracker, which works on mobile devices.