Head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie tallied career-win No. 600 as the UCF (7-14) softball team used a four-run sixth inning, which included a two-RBI single by junior Kellie Todd (Ocala, Fla.), to defeat Florida A&M, 5-1, Saturday night in its final game of the UCF/Courtyard by Marriott Invitational III at the UCF Softball Complex.
“This was a perfect way to earn my 600th win,” Luers-Gillispie said. “I feel like we are finally playing together and playing with confidence. Even with our backs against the wall, we found ways to win and our veterans stepped up when we really needed them to.”
The win vs. the Rattlers (9-8) moved Luers-Gillispie’s record to 600-451-3 in her 18th season as a head coach, while also improving her UCF record to 348-247-1 in her 10th season with the Knights.
Todd’s two RBI paced the Knights’ offense, while senior Abby McClain (Waterloo, Iowa) tallied a RBI triple in the fourth inning. Sophomore Marissa Menendez (Tampa, Fla.) also had a hit, scored a run and posted the game-winning RBI in the sixth.
Junior Allie Jest (Stone Mountain, Ga.) extended her hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the third inning. Senior Tawny Swan (Gilbert, Ariz.) recorded a hit and scored a pair of runs in the victory, and junior Natalie Land (Mayo, Fla.) tacked on a hit and one run scored.
In the circle, junior Lacy Dinney (Binbrook, Ont.) picked up her second win of the evening to move her record to 4-3 on the year. The hurler allowed only one run on three hits, while striking out six, in a complete-game outing.
The Black and Gold trailed early in the game after the Rattlers put a run across in the top of the first inning, but Dinney was able to regroup and held the visiting squad scoreless for the remainder of the contest.
UCF finally got on the board in the fourth inning and tied the game when Swan led off the frame with a double to left field and came around to score on McClain’s RBI triple to left centerfield.
The Knights scored four runs and took their first lead of the contest in the bottom of the sixth inning. A single by Land was sandwiched between a pair of walks allowed to Swan and McClain to load the bases with no outs, before Menendez brought the first run in with a single to centerfield. Two more runs would come around on a two-RBI single to left field by Todd to give the Black and Gold a 5-1 advantage and seal the victory.
UCF returns to action Tuesday when it hosts both Ball State and North Carolina in a doubleheader at the UCF Softball Complex. The first contest will begin at 4:30 p.m., while the nightcap is slated to get underway at 7 p.m.