UCF falls to Georgia in close 6-5 game
It was back and forth all day at the UCF Softball Complex on Saturday as the UCF Softball team took on Georgia. The game remained close until the final inning, when the Bulldogs took over and eventually captured a 6-5 win.
“It was really fun to have such a close game with Georgia,” sophomore infielder Cassady Brewer said. “We previously got beat pretty bad by them, but it didn’t mess with our confidence. To be able to play them as close as we did was really exciting and kind of led into our excitement for the second game.”
Georgia (23-3) came out swinging and put three runs on the board right away in the first inning. Those runs would keep the Bulldogs in the lead until the Knights (11-9) put up two runs in the second from Brewer’s home run and RBI, and one run in the third by Autumn Gillespie to tie the game 3-3.
“Cassady had one heck of a series today,” coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said.
UCF managed to take a 5-4 lead in the sixth inning, but the game continued to go back and forth and the Knights couldn’t answer back in their half of the seventh inning.
“We weren’t getting the hits we were hoping to get,” Luers-Gillispie said.
A single homer by Georgia’s Maeve McGuire in the top of the seventh proved to be the winning play for the Bulldogs.
Freshman pitcher Alea White remained in the circle for the entirety of the game. White only pitched one strikeout through seven innings and allowed 12 hits, six runs and five errors.
“She’s pitching with an injury right now and she’s doing a good job fighting through,” Luers-Gillispie said. “It’s a matter of finding kind of how to grip the ball the way she needed to in order to get the spins on it.”
Despite the loss, UCF was excited to keep up with a powerhouse team like Georgia and will look to improve its play against ranked teams throughout the rest of the season.
UCF pulls through another back and forth game for a win against Mercer
After playing a back and forth game against Georgia, UCF’s energy remained high in the team’s second game of the day against Mercer. The Knights were able to earn a 3-2 win against the Bears in another alternating game.
“We never panicked today, which was good,” Brewer said. “We panicked yesterday and we kind of pushed for runs and hits but today we just let it happen,”
With Mercer (12-12) in the lead going into the fourth, junior outfielder Courtney Rotton was hit by a pitch and redshirt freshman infielder Tamesha Glover moved her into scoring position on a sac bunt for the Knight’s first run of the game. Their second run came from freshman infielder Jazmine Ezparza’s home run in the fifth inning, giving UCF the lead.
The Bears answered back with another run in the sixth to tie the game back up 2-2. A crucial play followed for the Knights in the sixth when senior outfielder Willow Kalinen hit a triple down the right field line to bring Glover home to take back the lead, 3-2.
“We always say it only takes one,” said Kalinen. “I had a good conversation with Cassady before my at bat and she told me the adjustments she made in the box. I made those adjustments and I was able to be successful with it.”
Kamryn Toney pitched the entire game for the Knights. She had five strikeouts and only allowed two hits and two runs with no errors.
“We were making a lot of mistakes behind her, unfortunately, but she did a good job at making up for it,” Luers-Gillispie said.
The Knights were proud of their performances today and coach Luers-Gillispe is optimistic about the team’s attitude going forward.
“The main thing is just being relaxed and playing relaxed,” Luers-Gillispie said. “We got really tight yesterday in our games, and trying to do too much. They did a good job of relaxing today and just enjoying being out there and playing for each other and getting a good win. It was a good split for us today.”
Taya Britten is a contributor for the Central Florida Focus. You can follow her on Twitter at @tayabritten and you can email the sports team at EvanA@centralfloridafocus.com.