ORLANDO, Fla. - Despite Lexi Gifford's seventh career home run, the University of Connecticut softball team fell, 6-1, to No. 18 UCF in Sunday's series finale. With the setback, the Huskies fall to 10-20, while the Knights jump to 32-5.
Freshman righty Chelsea Eckert took the hill in the finale and lasted 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits. UCF's Mackenzie Audas earned her 17th win for the Knights, tossing 4.0 innings of one-run ball.
The Knights got on the board in the home half of the first, putting together three-straight hits and pushing across a pair of runs. Farrah Sullivan delivered the big blow, roping an double down the right field line that plated two.
The Huskies responded in the top of the third when Gifford belted a two-out solo home run to cut the lead to 2-1. For Gifford, it marked her first long ball of the season and seventh of her career.
UCF struck back in the fourth, picking up a run when Maddy Schroeder poked an RBI single through the right side of the infield to push the Knights' lead to 3-1. The home team tacked on two in the fifth, chasing Eckert from the game and bringing on Duggan, who was able to limit the damage and keep the deficit at four.
Sophomore Dominique Pinto doubled in the top of the seventh but the Huskies couldn't bring her around in the game's final frame.
Senior 3B Emily O'Donnell extended her team-best reached base streak to eight in the setback.
The squad continues midweek play on Tuesday, March 31 when it travels to Amherst, Mass. to take on UMass.