The UCF softball team (4-0) again won both games of their double header vs. Bethune-Cookman and Chattanooga on their second and final day of Dot Richardson’s National Collegiate Softball Invitational at the National Training Center softball complex. The Knights defeated the Wildcats in the opening game 10-4 before toppling the Mocs 6-2 in UCF’s final game of the invitational event.
Friday, Game One – UCF 2, Ohio State 1
Freshman Mackenzie Audas (Plant City, Fla.) earned her first-career win in her first collegiate game after only allowing one earned run on six hits in seven innings to help the Knights earn a 2-1 victory over Ohio State (0-1) in their opening game of the Dot Richardson’s National Collegiate Softball Invitational.
The young hurler was dominant from the onset as she struck out the first batter she faced and five of the first eight she retired. Audas tallied nine strikeouts total and didn’t issue a single walk in the complete game performance as she improved to 1-0 on the season.
Senior Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) provided the game-winning RBI in the fifth inning when she dropped a one out opposite-field single into left field. This base hit scored fellow senior Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) who was on third base after ripping a triple deep into the right-center field gap.
The Buckeyes were able to get the tying run into scoring position in the bottom of the seventh after a single and a stolen base, but Audas saved her best for last and struck out Buckeyes left fielder Megan Coletta to end the game.
Friday, Game Two – UCF 9, Florida A&M 1 (5 innings)
UCF used aggressive base running and timely hitting to defeat Florida A&M 9-1 in five rain-soaked innings in the second game of Friday’s double header at Dot Richardson’s National Collegiate Softball Invitational. The win gave the Knights their first 2-0 start since the 2004 season.
The Knights got five stolen bases from five different players and constantly put the Rattlers’ defense under pressure by taking extra bases at every opportunity. UCF is a perfect 7-7 in stolen base attempts through two games this season.
The black and gold jumped on FAMU early as Brewer roped a double to left field, advanced to third on senior Natalie Land’s (Mayo, Fla.) infield single, and scored on Menendez’s fielder’s choice to first base. Freshman Farrah Sullivan (Waynesboro, Miss.) then knocked in Land from second with an RBI single up the middle for her first hit of the season. Senior Vanessa Perez (San Diego, Calif.) finished the first inning scoring with a sacrifice fly to stake the Knights to a 3-0 first inning lead.
Senior transfer Ali Schmidt (Cordova, Md.), making her first Division I collegiate start, picked up her first career win after pitching five innings and allowing just three hits and one unearned run. Schmidt attacked hitters early and cruised through the first three innings before slightly struggling with wet conditions that made gripping the ball difficult. Schmidt allowed five base runners in the final two innings, but managed to escape without allowing any additional runs.
With rain bearing down on the field and a steady drizzle ready to turn into a downpour, the Knights quickly finished off the mercy rule victory in the fifth inning as Swan blasted a double into the right-centerfield gap to score Perez from second.
Saturday, Game One – UCF 10, Bethune-Cookman 4
UCF slugged out 11 hits and hit three home runs as the bats surged against Bethune-Cookman. Freshman Farrah Sullivan (Waynesboro, Miss.) smashed a three-run home run in the top of the first inning and finished the game 3-4 with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. Sullivan and the rest of the Knights carried the team to a dominant 10-4 victory over Bethune-Cookman (0-3) in their third game of the Dot Richardson’s National Collegiate Softball Invitational.
Sullivan had a tremendous weekend for the Knights as the young slugger hit .417 (5-12) and knocked in a team-leading six runs for the Knights in the four games. Sullivan is also leading the black and gold in slugging percentage as well as total bases. Perhaps most surprising, a recruited first baseman, Sullivan also made several strong defensive plays at third base, leading the Knights with nine infield assists in the weekend slate.
Junior transfer Alex Hartshorn (Tampa, Fla.) made her first start of the season and earned her first Division I victory after allowing three earned runs on four hits in four innings. Hartshorn kept the Wildcats limited on the bases by not allowing a single walk. Senior Ali Schmidt (Cordova, Md.) earned her first career save after pitching three scoreless innings in relief.
Saturday, Game Two – UCF 6, Chattanooga 2
Freshman standout Mackenzie Audas (Plant City, Fla.) was once again dominant in her second career start as the UCF defeated Chattanooga 6-2 in their fourth and final game of Dot Richardson’s National Collegiate Softball Invitational. The win gave the Knights their second best start in school history, topped only by their 5-0 start in 2004.
Audas pitched her second complete game of the weekend and kept the Mocs both off balance and overmatched with her mix of risers and changeups. Audas struck out 10 batters in seven innings and did not allow a walk for the second consecutive game. The righty has an incredible 19-0 strikeout to walk ratio in her two starts for the Knights.
The Black and Gold will play 30 home games at the UCF Softball Complex, with season tickets for the 2012 season costing only $40. The Knights’ first home game is slated for Feb. 24 against Seton Hall. Tickets are available for purchase online at UCFAthletics.com and Ticketmaster.com, or by calling the UCF Athletics Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000.