After a tough weekend in conference play, UCF Softball bounced back in an important 2-1 win over in-state rival UNF Wednesday evening at the UCF Softball Complex.
Before heading on a seven-game road stretch, the Knights (17-15) not only won in special manners, but also fought hard for a cause as the UCF players sported their pink jerseys to raise awareness for breast cancer, welcoming back four of the best softball players in the program’s history.
“I am very close to this cause,” Sophomore designated hitter Cassady Brewer said. “It was a lot of fun to be able to come out, get a win, and then raise money and continue to spread the awareness of it.”
The Knights took a quick lead in the bottom of the first when senior left fielder Linnea Goodman stole home for the score after hitting a double to open up the game. The Osprey’s (19-14) did not seemed phased by the Knight’s early lead however, as they put on a strong defensive performance throughout the next five innings.
After the first inning, it was a back and forth battle between the two teams. It was not until the top of the sixth that UNF was able to bring a runner home to tie the game after junior left fielder Ashley Niesman hit one ball high to center field.
But the Knights responded just later that inning when Brewer, who is usually in the lineup as the number four hitter, came up to pinch hit for UCF. Brewer delivered just as her team needed her to do on a ground ball down center field that brought home freshman second baseman Aubrey Johnson for what turned out to be the game winning run.
“It was a little different because I have never really had to do the pinch-hit thing,” Brewer said. “Being able to come in, and my team having faith in me to get the job done just kept me very concentrated. I really wanted to get it done for my team after a tough weekend and it was just really fun to be able to get the hit for them.”
The Knights held on in the top of the seventh inning to keep their lead and clinch the win, and with the help of their two freshman pitchers Kamryn Toney and Alea White, who frustrated quite a few UNF batters on the night.
“We had struggled this past weekend and we did a couple changes at practice this week just to get back into our rhythm of play,” Coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. “Slowing this game down, playing our game, and not letting things around us distract us is when we are at our best. I think we did a great job today and going into this weekend I hope to take that with us.”
Up next, the Knights travel to Greenville, NC for a conference matchup with East Carolina, Friday March 31st at 6 p.m.
Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for the Central Florida Focus. You can follow her on Twitter at @SaraheKelliher and you can email the sports team at EvanA@centralfloridafocus.com.