Southern Miss Falls in Pair of Close Affairs at UCF on Saturday.
April 20, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss pitchers allowed just five earned runs over two games, but it wasn't enough as Conference USA foe UCF took both games of Saturday's doubleheader at the UCF Softball Complex.
Mackenzie Sher belted her eighth homer of the season in game one to tie the game at 2-2, but UCF rallied back with a pair of extra-inning hits to take the series open 3-2. Southern Miss surrendered just one walk but timely hitting by the Knights was the difference.
In game two, it was a pitcher's duel between Kimberly Wagner and UCF's Mackenzie Auduas, who combined to retire 22 of the final 24 batters they faced but an early 2-0 UCF lead was enough as the Knights held on to take the series.
Southern Miss is back on the diamond tomorrow for the third and final game of the UCF series which is set to begin a 11 a.m. CT.
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Central Florida jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning as lead-off batter Maddy Schroeder got a full count walk before stealing second and moving to third on a Taylor Wagner seeing-eye single. The speedy Schroeder came in one batter later on a double-play ball to the right side.
In the second, Southern Miss put their first three batters on by way of a hit, hit batter and walk, but UCF's Shelby Turnier struck out the next two batters and got a liner to end the inning.
UCF added to their lead in the third as C-USA's steal's leader Kahley Novak reached on a fielder's choice before stealing second and coming in on a Schroeder single into left center. Schroeder became the second out of the inning on the next at bat as she tried to swipe second but a perfect throw across the diamond from Southern Miss catcher Mackenzie Sher got her in time.
Southern Miss answered back in the fifth with one swing of the bat. After Michelle Stringer singled to lead off the inning, two outs later Sher continued her strong all-around day with a moonshot to left field, her team-best eighth of the year, to tie it up 2-2.
Both pitchers retired the final six batters they faced in the sixth and seventh innings to force extra innings and it was UCF who came away with the 3-2 win after a Novak double and Schroeder single up the middle plated the winning run.
Beth Dietrich pitched another gem of a game but suffered the loss, allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out two and walking one. Turnier earned the victory after surrendering two runs on four hits while striking out nine.
The Knights took the early advantage again in the second game of the double header, going up on an RBI single through the right side in the second inning from Novak to drive in Haley Barrow from second.
Again in the third UCF found a single run as Farrah Sullivan got a lead-off single into left field and was run for by Lauren Aldridge who subsequently stole second. After Jasmine Acevedo reached on a fielding error to move Aldridge over to third, the pinch runner came in while the Golden Eagles turned their third double play of the day.
After the third, both pitchers settled in and UCF's Mackenzie Audas, last season's C-USA freshman and co-pitcher of the year, retired 12 of the final 13 batters she faced from the fourth through seventh innings, while Southern Miss' Kimberly Wagner retired nine of 10 to close out the game.
Morgan McKeever got a two-out double to the gap in the seventh to break Audas' run, but it wasn't enough to rally back as the Knights held on for the win.
Wagner (6-7) allowed just two runs and three hits in the tough luck loss while striking out and walking three. Audas (12-15) earned the complete game shutout with six strikeouts and three hits given up.