ORLANDO, FLA. (UCFAthletics.com) - Freshman Farrah Sullivan went 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles and two RBI as the UCF softball team swept Houston in a doubleheader Saturday at the UCF Softball Complex.
The Knights (37-13, 14-6 Conference USA) defeated the Cougars (19-33, 7-14) 4-1 in the opening game before winning 4-0 in the second contest. The sweep clinched just the second series win in school history over Houston.
The Black and Gold will conclude the series with Senior Day at 12 p.m. Sunday. Following the series finale, head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie and the Knights will honor the squad's seven seniors with a ceremony to recognize their dedication and contributions to the UCF softball program.
Freshman Mackenzie Audas picked up her 20th victory of the season as she twirled a two-hitter. The Cougars only managed a pair of singles and one earned run in the complete-game performance, and Audas struck out seven to increase her conference-leading count to 233.
Senior Natalie Land led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run down the left-field line to stake the Knights to a 1-0 lead that they would never relinquish.
Sullivan hit a two-run blast to left in the bottom of the fourth inning to put the Knights up 3-0. Sullivan increased her team-leading RBI total to 33, and she is looking to become the first freshman in school history to lead the Knights in RBI for a season.
The Knights finished off the scoring in the bottom of the fifth when senior Vanessa Perez hit an RBI single through the left side to score Land.
Senior Ali Schmidt pitched a four-hit shutout in her best performance of the season. Schmidt worked quickly, as she aggressively attacked hitters and got several weak pop ups and ground balls. The game, which only took an hour and 12 minutes, was the fastest of the season for the Knights.
In the bottom of the second, Sullivan led off with her second double of the day. With one out, freshman Madeline Schroeder reached on an infield single. Freshman Hayley Barrow then loaded the bases with a single, and junior Danielle Brewer followed up with a high-bouncing fielder's choice to third base. The throw home was late and wide, allowing two runs to score.
Schroeder went 3-for-6 on the day and made arguably the best defensive play of the season with a tremendous diving catch that prevented an extra-base hit in the top of the sixth.
In the bottom of the fifth, Brewer reached on an error and junior Lauren Aldridge moved her into scoring position with a single. Land then hit an RBI double off the top of the wall in left-center field, narrowly missing her second home run of the day. The Knights' final run of the game scored on a wild pitch.