Feb. 25, 2012
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By Andrew Jennette
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) – The UCF softball team (7-7) improved to .500 on the season by winning both games of its doubleheader on Saturday vs. Florida Gulf Coast and Eastern Michigan at the UCF & Courtyard by Marriott Invitational at the UCF Softball Complex. The Knights bounced back from an early deficit to defeat the FGCU Eagles 2-1 in the first game before hammering the EMU Eagles in the night cap 7-2.
Game One – UCF 2, Florida Gulf Coast 1 – Box Score
Freshman Mackenzie Audas (Plant City, Fla.) dazzled in her first-career home start by pitching a one-hitter to pick up her third victory of the season. Audas allowed a solo home run in the first inning but was dominant and literally unhittable from that point forward, retiring the next 20 Eagles without allowing a single hit.
The Knights’ freshman ace struck out eight Eagles on the afternoon as she increased her Conference USA-leading total to 49 in 52 innings this season. Audas also maintains a C-USA best .201 opponents batting average.
Freshman Madeline Schroeder (Jacksonville, Fla.) had a painful, but very productive day at the plate as she reached base three times. Schroeder was hit by a pitch in her first two at bats before reaching on an infield single in her third at bat. The Knights’ young designated player increased her on-base percentage to a strong .389 for the season.
The Black and Gold finally broke through in the fourth inning as freshman Farrah Sullivan (Waynesboro, Miss.) led off the inning with by working a walk. Sullivan was then lifted for pinch runner Lauren Aldridge (Vero Beach, Fla.), who advanced to second on a single up the middle by senior Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.).
After junior Alena Murgatroyd (Lancaster, Calif.) worked the second walk of the inning, senior Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) provided the Knights with some much needed clutch hitting with runners in scoring position. Swan, who was hitting just .200 coming into the game, knocked a single just past the diving glove of the second baseman to plate Aldridge and Perez for UCF’s only runs of the game.
Audas only needed a one-run cushion to complete her masterful performance. Audas pitched a perfect sixth before finishing off the Eagles in style in the seventh with back-to-back strikeouts to end the game.
Game Two – UCF 7, Eastern Michigan 2 – Box Score
Senior Ali Schmidt (Cordova, Md.) weathered a rough second inning and bounced back with arguably her most dominant performance of the season. Schmidt picked up her third victory as she pitched seven innings while giving up just five hits and one earned run. Schmidt set career-best marks with 12 strikeouts and zero walks. Her 12 strikeouts were the most by any Knight in a game this season.
The Black and Gold jumped out to a quick first-inning lead and never looked back against the Eagles. UCF plated two runs in the inning as Novak used her speed to reach on an infield single and then stole her fifth base of the season to get into scoring position. After advancing to third on a tag up, Novak scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of junior Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.). Later in the inning, Sullivan hit an RBI single up the middle that knocked in Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) from second. Land had two stolen bases and two runs scored on the day increasing her team lead in both categories to seven and eight respectively.
The Eagles tied the game at two in the top of the second inning. Schmidt had her only rough patch of the game as she allowed two hits, uncorked two wild pitches and hit a batter in the inning. Eastern Michigan successfully pulled off a delayed double steal of second and home to plate their second run and tie the game.
The Knights’ offense finally broke out in the third inning and gave Schmidt more than enough cushion with four big runs. Menendez worked a one-out walk and moved to second as Sullivan reached on an error. Perez was then hit by a pitch for the fifth time this season to load the bases. Perez now holds the all-time record in UCF history for hit by pitches with 12.
With the bases loaded and two outs, senior Lindsey Selmer (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) worked a walk for her third RBI of the season to give the Knights a 3-2 lead. Swan then stepped in and delivered her second clutch hit of the day as she ripped a triple down the right field line. Swan’s three-bagger gave UCF a 6-2 advantage and gave Swan five RBI for the day in the two games.
The Black and Gold tacked on an insurance run in the fourth as Sullivan again plated Land with an RBI single into right-center field. Sullivan went 3-4 with two RBI and increased her team-leading RBI total to 10 on the year.
The Knights conclude action at the UCF & Courtyard by Marriott Invitational on Sunday with another matchup against Eastern Michigan at 1:00 p.m. UCF fans can follow all the tournament action on UCF All-Access with live video and the voice of UCF softball, Eric Lopez. Fans can also follow on UCFAthletics.com Gametracker as well as www.twitter.com/UCF_Softball.
The Black and Gold have 26 home games remaining 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.