May 19, 2012
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Andrew Jennette
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The UCF softball team saw its impressive 2012 campaign come to a close Saturday evening, as the squad suffered a 7-1 loss to No. 5 seed Florida (47-12) in its second game at the NCAA Gainesville Regional at Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium.
The Knights concluded the season with a 39-19 overall record and a 15-9 Conference USA mark, while making their third appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last five years. The loss marked the second time in school history that Florida eliminated the Knights from the NCAA Tournament with the first coming in the 2008 regional championship.
“It was not the type of finish that we wanted in the regional. Florida is a really tough team and we knew that coming into the game,” head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. “I thought that we had a really good season overall. As a young team with five freshmen starting for us, I think we have a bright future ahead of us.”
Freshman Mackenzie Audas was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs in 4 1/3 innings. Audas only allowed three hits and recorded nine strikeouts, but was uncharacteristically wild with five walks and two hit batters. Audas’ 18 punch outs overall set a new school record for strikeouts in an NCAA regional.
Senior Ali Schmidt and junior Alex Hartshorn made their NCAA Tournament debuts for the Knights on Saturday in relief of Audas. Schmidt pitched two innings and gave up three hits and two earned runs while walking four and striking out one. Hartshorn recorded the final two outs of the game for the Knights without allowing a hit.
Senior Natalie Land led off the game with a double to right-center and advanced to third on the play after a throwing error by the Gators. However, the Knights were unable to score in the inning after Land was thrown out at the plate attempting to tag up on a shallow pop to center caught by the shortstop.
The Gators jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning after a two-run homer by first baseman Lauren Haeger. Haeger matched that with a solo homer in the top of the fifth inning to put the Gators up 3-0 and chase Audas from the game.
The Knights got on the board in the bottom of the sixth after an RBI single by Hayley Barrow. Barrow hit the ball hard the entire tournament and was 2-for-3 on the day as she narrowly missed a home run in the bottom of the second after she ripped a double that hit off the top of the wall.
The Black and Gold dropped to 5-8 all-time in the NCAA Tournament under Luers-Gillispie.