While it wasn’t as dramatic as Friday’s 11-10 extra-inning affair, UCF once again found a way to beat Providence on Sunday afternoon. It took a three-run rally in the fifth inning, but the Knights came out on top by a score of 3-1.
“This weekend, we talked about finally having a home stretch, with 19 games this month at home,” coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. “It’s exciting to be able to come back home after being on the road for the last 2 ½ weeks and really defend our territory.”
UCF (10-6, 0-0 AAC) got a strong effort out of freshman starting pitcher Alea White on Sunday, as she hurled a complete game while giving up just one unearned run on three hits and three walks. With the win, she improved to 6-4 on the season. It was White’s third appearance of the weekend, with the first two coming in relief on Friday and Saturday. She was credited with the win in all three appearances.
“Alea’s just been on fire this whole season,” Luers-Gillispie said. “Coming in as a freshman and just getting the innings that we’re getting out of her, she’s definitely stepped up and has had a lot of big games for us.”
Although White was able to settle in after a rocky first inning, Providence (3-7, 0-0 Big East) struck first in the fifth inning. After freshman Mackensie Compton reached on an error, the Friars loaded the bases. Compton then came home on a sacrifice fly from junior Julianne Rurka.
Despite falling behind, the Knights once again showed an ability to respond quickly. In the home half of the fifth, freshman Tamesha Glover got a rally started by reaching on an error. After a single by senior Linnea Goodman, junior Courtney Rotton drove in Glover with a single of her own. One batter later, sophomore Cassady Brewer gave UCF the lead with a groundout to second base. Another run came in later on a wild pitch.
“We knew something was going to fall eventually,” Brewer said. “Whenever we got down, we responded. We never gave up. We’re always fighting.”
Once the Knights took a 3-1 lead, White protected it in dominant fashion. Over the sixth and seventh innings, she set down six straight hitters to finish off the team’s fourth straight victory.
“I have a tendency to start off a little rough, but I know I just have to settle in and get comfortable,” White said. “And I just trusted my defense knowing that they have my back.”
With three wins this weekend, the Knights started their 19-game home stand on a strong note. All three wins were by two runs or less.
UCF hosts No. 12 James Madison on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Bailey Adams is a contributor for the Central Florida Focus. You can follow him on Twitter at @BaileyJAdams22 and you can email the sports team at EvanA@centralfloridafocus.com.