UCF Softball Returns Home for the Holiday Inn Tournament



Feb. 27, 2014

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By Nate Blythe

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - UCF returns to the friendly confines of the UCF Softball Complex, where it is 7-0 on the season, on Friday against SIUE and Princeton beginning at 10 a.m. The UCF Holiday Inn Classic continues on Saturday with the Knights facing College of Charleston at 3:30 p.m. before playing SIUE at 8 p.m.

Admission to the UCF Softball Complex is $5 with discounts available for Youth/Seniors/Faculty ($3) and groups of 10 or more ($2). Each contest involving the Knights can be watched on UCF all-access, while live stats for the entire tournament can be found at the tournament page.

The Knights are coming off a tough 1-4 showing at the Easton Bama Bash in Tusacaloosa, Ala., where it had a pair of opportunities to top No. 7/9 Alabama. UCF held a 3-1 lead going to the sixth inning on Feb. 21 before seven unanswered runs were scored and saw the Tide notch a walk-off win 1-0 in the seventh with two outs the following day.

The Knights are seeking to put a stop to a four-game losing skid, falling to McNeese St. (8-2) and Virginia Tech (1-0) to close the Easton Bama Bash after topping McNeese St. (5-2) in the opener.

UCF is paced in the circle by junior pitcher Mackenzie Audas with a 4-4 mark and 1.80 ERA, three of those losses are at top 10 teams, Florida State and Alabama. Sophomore hurler Shelby Turnier is 4-1 with a 2.33 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 33.0 innings.

The offense for the Knights is paced by junior outfielder Kahley Novak with 12 hits, including four multi-hit games. Freshmen outfielder Linnea Goodman and shortstop Brittany Solis have made immediate impacts on offense. Goodman has posted nine hits, while Solis has driven in a team-high six runs.

Each of the opponents have faced the Knights at least once with UCF owning a 1-0 mark against Princeton and SIU. The all-time series against College of Charleston is evened up a one apiece.

Charleston is 7-7 on the campaign with notable wins vs. UConn (5-0), UMass (13-3), Ole Miss (2-0) and DePaul (3-1). Four individuals are batting over .300 with Carly Hansis pacing the way with .393 avg., while Mackenzie Maples has been clutch in driving in 12 runs. The pitching staff is led by Hope Klicker with 4-6 mark and 40 strikeouts in 45.2 innings of work.

This is the opening weekend for Princeton, who went 27-19 last year, finishing fifth in the Ivy League. The Tigers return Kayla Bose (.352), Alyssa Schmidy (.351) and Rachel Redina (.350) from an offense that posted a .296 team batting avg. In the circle, Shanna Christina, who went 10-5 with a 3.00 ERA, returns for Princeton along with junior Merideth Brown (2-0).

SIUE enters the weekend at 3-11 with victories over Michigan State (3-2, 9 inn.) and Southeastern Louisiana (7-0, 5-3). The Cougars are paced by Rachel Keller and Haley Chambers on offense with averages of .353 and .333, respectively. Chambers is the primary pitcher with a 2-7 mark and 45 strikeouts in 57.1 inning. A 1-4 mark has been made by Erin Greenwalt with 20 strikeouts in 30.0 frames. Head coach Sandy Montgomery has led SIUE over the past 26 seasons.

UT Martin, who does not face UCF this weekend but faces the hosts on Thursday, comes to Orlando with a 4-8-1 record win victories over Northern Colorado (1-0), Indiana (7-1), Georgia State (9-7) and Houston Baptist (4-2). The Skyhawks are led by Kayla Wade with .341 avg. and nine runs scored. Lauren Smith has connected on three homers and driven in eight runs. In the circle, Kenzi Tate (2-3) and Elizabeth Weigand (2-1) are the top hurlers.

The Knights continue a 23-game home stand on Wednesday with a doubleheader against Boston College and Jacksonville beginning at 1 p.m.



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