UCF Softball Comes Up Short Twice in San Diego

GO KNIGHTS Junior Alex Hartshorn made her second start of the season against San Diego State.
Junior Alex Hartshorn made her second start of the season against San Diego State.

Feb. 18, 2012

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By Andrew Jennette

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (UCFAthletics.com) – The UCF softball team (4-4) again dropped both games of its doubleheader on Saturday vs. No. 12 UCLA and host San Diego State on the second day of the 22nd Annual Campbell/Cartier Classic at San Diego State. The Knights lost a hotly contested showdown to the Bruins 3-1 in the opening contest before falling 3-2 to the Aztecs in the afternoon game.

Game One – UCLA 3, UCF 1 – Box Score Get Acrobat Reader

For the second time during the weekend, UCF found itself in a low-scoring pitcher’s duel with a nationally ranked program. However, for the second consecutive start freshman Mackenzie Audas (Plant City, Fla.) picked up a tough loss in the circle. Audas went the distance for the fourth consecutive start, but dropped her overall record to 2-2 on the season.

The young hurler gave up a single to lead off the game, but then retired the next seven Bruins, three via strikeout. Overall, Audas pitched seven innings, allowing seven hits and three runs while striking out four batters total. She leads the Knights in innings pitched (30.2), strikeouts (27) and batting average against (.225).

The Bruins got on the board first and took a 1-0 lead in the fourth with two doubles off Audas. UCF, however, quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning as freshman Farrah Sullivan (Waynesboro, Miss.) provided the only scoring of the game for the Knights when she crushed a two-out solo home run to straightaway centerfield.

The Black and Gold picked up their first hit of the game in the third when freshman leadoff hitter Kahley Novak (Clermont, Fla.) smoked a groundball up the middle for a two-out single. On the very next pitch, junior Danielle Brewer (Apopka, Fla.) hit a tailing shot into the right field corner that was snagged on a full sprint by the Bruins’ B.B. Bates. Bates’ tremendous play saved a run and kept the game tied at zero.

The Knights best chance to score came in the sixth inning. Senior Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) reached on a one-out error. Land moved to third after junior cleanup hitter Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) ripped a single through the right side. With runners on first and third and just one out, Sullivan grounded a rocket shot to first base for the second out as Land broke for home immediately. Land was called out at the plate on the thrown home much to the chagrin of the Knights’ coaching staff and dugout.

In the top of the seventh inning, UCLA took the momentum from the previous inning and hit back-to-back solo home runs that provided the two-run cushion needed for the Bruins to come away with the narrow victory.

Game Two – San Diego State 3, UCF 2 - Box Score Get Acrobat Reader

UCF tallied eight hits and kept the pressure on the defense throughout the action in the second game of its doubleheader on Saturday against host San Diego State. However, the Knights were unable to come up with enough timely hits as they left 10 runners on base and dropped a 3-2 loss to the Aztecs.

Senior Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) had her best game of the tournament in front of her hometown fans as she went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Perez also had a highlight reel catch over the wall in straightaway center to rob an Aztec player of a home run in the second inning.

Sullivan, UCF’s team leader in batting average (.320), home runs (2), and RBI (7) also went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Sullivan recorded a team-best three infield assists at third base, continuing her solid play at the hot corner.

Junior Alex Hartshorn (Tampa, Fla.) got the start for the Knights. She pitched one inning and allowed two runs on three hits. Two of the three hits allowed were back-to-back solo home runs by the Aztecs in the second inning which provided them an early 2-0 cushion.

Senior Ali Schmidt (Cordova, Md.) was excellent in relief of Hartshorn. Schmidt pitched five innings and only allowed four hits and one run while striking out a career-best four hitters. Schmidt retired 11 consecutive Aztecs from the second inning through the fifth inning which is the longest such streak of the season for any Knights pitcher.

Trailing 3-0, UCF attempted to rally in the fourth inning and put two runs on the board to cut the deficit to one. Sullivan led off the inning with a single. Perez then followed with a single. Junior Hailey Barraco (Ft. Myers, Fla.), making her first career start as the designated player, then came through with her first career hit and first career RBI. Barraco’s single plated Sullivan for the first run of the game for the Knights. Senior Lindsey Selmer then knocked in her second run of the season with a fielder’s choice to second base.

The Black and Gold threatened again in the fifth as Menendez and Perez both singled with two outs. However the rally ended as Barraco flied out to deep center to end the potentially rally.

The Knights conclude action at the 22nd Annual Campbell/Cartier Classic on Sunday with one game against Oregon State at 12 p.m. ET. UCF fans can follow all the action on UCFAthletics.com Gametracker as well as www.twitter.com/UCF_Softball.

The Black and Gold will play 30 home games at the UCF Softball Complex, with season tickets for the 2012 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.