Freshman Mackenzie Audas threw her first-career no-hitter as the UCF softball team defeated Bethune-Cookman 4-0 at Sunnyland Park on Tuesday.
The Knights (39-13) fed off the Plant City native as she struck out 11 batters en route to her 21st win of the year. Audas was masterful as she dealt 110 pitches with 81 for strikes while issuing just two walks.
Only three Wildcats (26-26) reached base all game and no runners got beyond second. Audas retired the final 13 hitters of the game and struck out at least one batter in all seven innings. It was the 10th time this season that Audas has racked up double-digit strikeouts in a start.
The performance was the first no hitter thrown by the Knights’ pitching staff this year and the first for the program since Allison Kime on March 25, 2008.
Senior Natalie Land led the game off with a long home run to right-center to give the Audas all the cushion she would need. The long ball was Land’s seventh of the season and fourth to open a game. Land went 3-for-4 with three runs and two stolen bases to increase her batting average to a season-best .341. Land is on a five-game hitting streak and has recorded at least two hits in each of those five games.
The Knights plated insurance runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings. In the second, freshman Kahley hit an infield single and used her speed to force an errant throw into right field that allowed Land to score from second unearned. In the fourth, another Wildcats error, this time off the bat of senior Vanessa Perez, allowed Land to again score unearned to put the Knights up 3-0. Junior Alena Murgatroyd completed the Black and Gold’s scoring with an RBI single to left in the fifth.
The Knights will return to action for their last regular season series of the year on Saturday as they travel to Marshall for a 1 p.m. doubleheader. The series will conclude on Sunday at noon.