UCF Softball Advances to The American Championship Game



May 10, 2014

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By Nate Blythe

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HOUSTON, Texas (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF softball team slugged its way into The American Championship Final with an 8-5 victory on Saturday over No. 5 Rutgers in front of a national television audience on ESPN2. The Knights, the No. 1 seed, move on to play No. 3 Louisville on Sunday at noon with the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament on the line.

After Rutgers (28-19) took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a Jackie Bates homer, the Knights responded and seized the momentum by batting around and scoring five runs in the second. Sophomore Mariah Garcia knotted the game at two with a home run following a double by classmate Jessica Ujvari.

A round tripper by sophomore Samantha McCloskey put UCF (41-15) on top for the first time. The Knights tacked on to their lead with a single by freshman Linnea Goodman that scored junior outfielder Maddy Schroeder, who singled to center and stole second. Junior second baseman Kahley Novak stretched the advantage to 5-2 by crossing the plate on a wild pitch.

Sophomore Shelby Turnier (19-5) notched the win after throwing four innings with five strikeouts to up her punchout total to 200 on the campaign. A solid 2.1 frames of relief was provided by sophomore Jamie Ujvari with three strikeouts.

With UCF holding an 8-2 lead entering the seventh, Rutgers made the contest interesting by batting around and cutting the deficit to three runs on four hits. The Scarlet Knights had the game-winning run at the plate before sophomore Mackenzie Audas closed the door with a strikeout.

The Plant City native posted her eighth-career save, increasing her school-record total.

Freshman shortstop Brittany Solis and Goodman each notched a pair of hits along with Je. Ujvari for the Knights. Solis singled up the middle in the third to extend the lead to 6-2, scoring sophomore pinch runner Kaitlyn Steckel from second following a single by sophomore first baseman Kalyn Cenal. An infield base knock by Novak stretched the lead to 7-2.

With one out in the fourth inning, Je. Ujvari connected on solo home run to right center, 8-2.

The Scarlet Knights had a pair of runners on in the fourth following a walk and single by Loren Williams, but Turnier was able to notch a strikeout and fly out to right center.

Rutgers made its move in the seventh as a walk and single up the middle started the rally. A fielder's choice and throwing error loaded the bases before a sac fly by Carly Todd to cut the lead to 8-3.

Melanie Slowinski and Jordan Whitley notched run-scoring singles to continue the rally, 8-5. Relieving Ja. Ujvari in the circle was Audas, who tallied a pair of strikeouts to end the game.

The loss was dealt to Alyssa Landrith, who yielding three run in 1.2 frames. Shayla Sweeney and Dresden Maddox also say time in the circle.

Multi-hit games for the Scarlet Knights were tallied by Bates, Slowinski and Williams.



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