ORLANDO, Fla. -- The University of Connecticut softball team dropped two games to No. 18 UCF on Saturday, falling to the Knights, 2-1, in both contests in the Huskies' American Athletic Conference opener. Connecticut now sits at 10-19 overall and 0-2 in league play following the losses to Central Florida.
Freshman pitcher Chelsea Eckert got the nod for the Huskies in game one of the series, finishing with one strikeout and allowing just five hits. The Branchville, N.J. native, who dropped to 2-6 on the year with the loss, provided the Huskies with six innings of work.
The Knights opened the scoring in the second inning, as infielder Brittany Solis brought in Willow Kalinen on an RBI single to give Central Florida a 1-0 lead. UCF would extend its lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning when Samantha McCloskey doubled to right field, allowing Megan Greenwell to score.
The Huskies cut the Central Florida lead to just one (2-1) in the seventh inning after a wild pitch by UCF pitcher Shelby Turnier allowed UConn's Alaina Montgomery to reach home with two outs left in the frame. Connecticut's rally would fall short, as sophomore catcher Dominique Pinto flew out to center field to end the game.
UConn received another solid outing from its starting pitcher in the second game, as Lauren Duggan went six innings, allowing just one run and eight hits with a pair of strikeouts.
UCF once again struck first after Solis scored following a walk by Duggan with the bases loaded. Central Florida's Farrah Sullivan was credited with the RBI on the scoring play.
Connecticut senior Emily O'Donnell evened the game at one in the top of the fifth inning when she brought home junior Lexi Gifford with a single to left field. O'Donnell leads all Huskies with 19 RBIs this season.
The game wouldn't stay tied for long, as the Knights answered in the bottom of the frame off an RBI single by Sullivan. Her shot up the middle scored Linnea Goodman, and the Huskies were unable to get a run across in the final two innings.
UConn rounds out its series with Central Florida on Sunday at 12 p.m. before playing road games against UMass (March 31) and Albany (Apr. 1) next week.