Feb. 22, 2012
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By Andrew Jennette
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team (4-6) had two chances to finish off No. 25 Florida State (10-0) on Wednesday night, needing just two outs on two separate occasions to finish off a win again the Seminoles. However, the Knights could not seal the deal as they gave up one-run leads in the bottom of the seventh and bottom of the ninth inning to lose to the Seminoles 6-2 in nine innings.
Freshman Mackenzie Audas (Plant City, Fla.) was dazzling in the circle through six innings, tallying eight of her nine strikeouts and only allowing four hits with no runs in that time. However, Audas could not hold a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning as she allowed a leadoff double and a one-out RBI single that tied the game. Audas bounced back with a perfect eighth inning, but the Seminoles broke through in the ninth with one unearned and four earned runs to earn a walk-off four-run victory.
UCF recorded eight hits on the game, but left 12 runners on base and could not cash in enough of their opportunities with runs. Junior Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) reached base three times by going 2-4 with a single, double and a walk. Menendez is hitting a team best .355 through ten games. The Knights' cleanup hitter has hit safely in nine of the first ten games this season and leads the team in hits, doubles, and on-base percentage.
Freshman Maddy Schroeder (Jacksonville, Fla.) picked up her first-career hit, showing off her speed in the top of the third inning by legging out an infield single. Schroeder got her third start of the season as the designed player and responded by scoring both of the Knights' runs.
The Knights got on the board first in the fifth as senior Lindsey Selmer (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) recorded a lead-off single. After back-to-back fielder's choices, the Knights were left with two outs and Schroeder on first base. Freshman Kahley Novak (Clermont, Fla.) hit a dribbler down the third base line that the Seminoles attempted to let roll foul, however the ball stayed fair and both was safe. With two on and two out, junior Danielle Brewer (Apopka, Fla.) roped an RBI single into right field to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.
Leading 1-0 heading into the seventh inning, the Knights allowed a lead-off down the left field line. After a strikeout, the Seminoles tied the game with an RBI single into right center. The Black and Gold bounced back in the top of the ninth inning as Schroeder reached base on an error to start the inning. After being sacrificed over to second by Novak, Schroeder advanced to third on a wild pitch. Brewer then hit a groundball to third base that was thrown away by the Seminoles that allowed Schroeder to score the go-ahead run.
For the second time in the evening, UCF took a one-run lead into a potentially game-clinching inning. However, the Knights could not seal the victory. The Seminoles tried a lead-off bunt that was fielded cleanly by Audas. However, Audas' throw was low and Brewer was charged with an error for not coming up with the catch. Audas then uncorked a wild pitch to move the tying run to third with none out. The next batter singled past the Knights drawn in defense to tie the game. Following a pair of walks, one intentional, the Seminoles won the game 6-2 after a walk-off grand slam.
The Knights return to action on Friday for their home opener against Seton Hall at 3:30. The Knights will play a total of five games this weekend as part of the Courtyard by Marriott UCF Invitational. UCF fans can watch live video as well as listen to the action online via Knights All-Access with the play-by-play radio voice of the Knights, Eric Lopez. Fans can also 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.