UCF Softball Welcomes Rutgers This Weekend



April 4, 2014

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By Nate Blythe

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF softball team resumes American Athletic Conference play on Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Rutgers. The first pitch for the finale of the three-game series is on Sunday at 11 a.m.

After wearing pink jerseys for Valentine's Day, UCF will don them for the second time on Sunday in support of breast cancer awareness. Pink T-shirts and softball will be given away to those fans that arrive early for the final game of the series.

General admission at the UCF Softball Complex is $5, while discounted youth, senior and faculty and faculty tickets can be purchased for $3.

A video broadcast is available for each game of the series with an UCF All-Access subscription. Fans can follow live stats on their mobile devices through Gametracker.

Rutgers (16-10, 1-2) and UCF have each had a series washed out due to persistent rain on March 29-30 in the northeast. UCF was slated to play at Temple, while Rutgers hosted South Florida that weekend.

The Knights captured their first road victory on April 2 at North Florida, 5-3, behind a strong pitching performance by junior Mackenzie Audas, who struck out 10, and a pair of runs driven in by sophomore catcher Kalyn Cenal. UCF (25-11, 3-0) is 1-3 in away contests with losses at No. 10 Florida State and twice to No. 7 Alabama.

In home contests, the Knights are 23-6 with 10 scheduled games remaining. The 39 home dates ties for the most in the country with Arizona State and South Florida, who have each played 30 games at home and have nine more scheduled.

One of the deepest pitching staffs in The American is possessed by the Knights, who pace the league with a 1.59 ERA. The one-two punch of junior Mackenzie Audas and sophomore Shelby Turnier have combined for 279 strikeouts in 216.2 innings of work.

Turnier (14-4), a two-time American Pitcher of the Week, leads the conference with a 1.18 ERA and ranks 16th in the country with 155 strikeouts. A 10-8 mark has been tallied by Audas, who stands 53rd nationally with 124 punchouts.

The Knights offense is led by junior second baseman Kahley Novak with a .375 avg. followed by sophomores Samantha McCloskey (.315), Jessica Ujvari (.308) and freshman Linnea Goodman (.310). Novak also paces the team in hits (42), runs scored (26) and stolen bases (21).

This is the first meeting in the series between Rutgers and UCF.

Rutgers has won 11 of their last 14 with notable wins over Villanova (3-0, 1-0), Seton Hall (12-5), Hofstra (3-1), Louisville (10-6) and Penn State (4-3).

The duo of Chandler Howard (.419) and Jackie Bates (.402) pace the Rutgers offense that has six players batting over .300. Howard has blasted five homers, while Bates leads the squad in doubles (12) and RBI (25).

In the circle, Alyssa Landrith (9-4) is the team's workhorse with 112 strikeouts in 93.0 innings of work. A 5-5 mark has been tallied by Shayla Sweeney, who has fanned 22 in 49.1 frames.

UCF heads to Stetson on Wednesday at 6 p.m. before playing its first three-game series against rival South Florida. The matchup between the two top pitching staffs in The American begins with a doubleheader on April 12 at 10 a.m. in Tampa.



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