UCF sophomore pitcher Shelby Turnier tied the program’s seven-inning strikeout record with 15 and tallied the game-winning RBI triple in the last at bat to post a 1-0 victory over Florida A&M in the night cap on Saturday. The Knights came from behind earlier in the day against James Madison when junior outfielder Kahley Novak scored the go-ahead run on an errant throw for a walk-off 3-2 triumph at the UCF Softball Complex.
The 8-0 start is the first in the history of program that made its debut in 2002. Five wins to begin a campaign was the previous record set by the 2004 squad.
Turnier’s 15 strikeouts were the fourth time a Knights’ hurler hit that number in a regulation game with standout Allison Kime accomplishing the feat three times in the memorable 2008 season at Bethune-Cookman (4/20/08) and UTEP (4/13/08) and vs. Vermont (3/1/08). The program’s strikeout record is 18 in 12 innings by Kime at Florida State (3/26/07).
Improving to 4-0 in the circle was junior pitcher Mackenzie Audas, who tossed a complete game against the Dukes, who took an early 2-0 lead in the third, with six strikeouts.
The Knights saw Turnier notch her first of two triples and sophomore catcher Kalyn Cenal connect on a double vs. James Madison. Freshman left fielder Linnea Goodman, Cenal and Novak added a pair of base knocks.
Recording a 2-for-2 outing against the Rattlers was sophomore first baseman Samantha McCloskey.
After opening the season with seven home games, UCF hits the road on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. showdown with No. 12 Florida State. The competition ramps up more during the weekend with the Knights facing host No. 6 Alabama twice in the Easton Bama Bahs.
The third of four tournaments hosted by UCF is set for Feb. 28-Mar. 1 with the Knights returning to the UCF Softball Complex for a doubleheader vs. SIUE and Princeton at 10 a.m.