UCF Softball Finishes Regular Season at UConn



May 1, 2014

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By Nate Blythe

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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - The UCF Softball team begins a three-game series at UConn on Saturday with a doubleheader set for noon at Burrill Family Field at the Connecticut Softball Complex. The finale is set for noon on Sunday.

The goal for UCF (36-15, 12-3 The American) is to win their sixth series of the season at UConn (13-34, 3-14 The American), clinching the American Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship. The Knights have won each of their conference series except for Temple, where rain forced all games to be cancelled.

The Knights, who have a school-best RPI at 25, are seeking the program's first regular season title. Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie started the UCF program is 2002 and has guided it to the 2005 A-Sun and 2008 C-USA Tournament titles and appearances in four NCAA Tournaments (2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012).

Fans that are unable to make the trip to Storrs, Conn., can listen to all-access audio and follow the contests with gametracker, which works on mobile devices. A subscription video broadcast is also available. Links to all events can be found on the schedule page.

The trip to UConn is a homecoming for freshman pitcher Lena Springer. The New Britain, Conn., native grew up as a fan of the Huskies with both her parents, George (football) and Laura (gymnastics), competing for UConn.

Springer's brother, George, played baseball at UConn and was drafted in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Astros. Houston recently called him up on April 16, where he notched his first hit and scored a run against the Royals.

She also has a sister, Nicole, who finished her softball-playing career at Central Connecticut State in 2013.

The Knights have a two-game lead in the loss column over rival South Florida in the league standings following their sweep of Houston. Junior third baseman Farrah Sullivan was named The American Player of the Week and helped the team total 40 hits on the weekend and score seven runs in each contest.

The offense has steadily improved throughout the season and now paces the league with a .313 batting avg. in conference-only games. Junior second baseman Kahley Novak has tallied a league-high 59 hits on the campaign.

Sullivan has been the primary run producer with 27 RBI followed by sophomores Mariah Garcia (21) and Jessica Ujvari (20). A pair of homers for sophomore Samantha McCloskey increased her total to four, tying Je. Ujvari for the team lead.

UCF has the top pitching staff in the conference that has compiled a 1.54 ERA and 409 strikeouts. Junior Mackenzie Audas (17-10) and sophomore Shelby Turnier (17-5) have been important to the Knights success.

Key contributions in the circle have been provided by sophomore Jessica Ujvari with two wins and two saves and Springer. Sophomore Mackenzie Huhn combined with Audas for a no-hitter vs. Iona on March 18.

The Knights are 3-1 in the all-time series against UConn. UCF won the first three matchups, but UConn took a 4-3 victory last year in Orlando. This will be the first meeting outside the Sunshine State.

UConn has tallied notable victories over UMass (4-2), Temple (5-4), Providence (4-3), Memphis (9-6, 4-1) and Texas A&M Corpus Christie (10-2).

The Huskies are led by Valerie Sadowl with a .336 avg., six homers and 20 RBI. Pacing the team with 23 runs driven in is Audrey Grinnell.

In the circle, Lauren Duggan (7-19) leads the squad with 76 strikeouts in 143.1 innings pitched. The trio of Kayla Doty (3-7), Alyson Ambler (1-3) and Katelyn Callahan (2-5) have provided pitching depth.

UCF begins The American Championship on Thursday in Houston, Texas with matchups and start times set to be released on Sunday night.



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