May 3, 2014
STORRS, Conn. – UConn softball dropped a doubleheader to Central Florida on Saturday afternoon at the Burrill Family Field Complex. UCF used early runs to outpace the Huskies in game one before logging late scores to secure the later game.
Valerie Sadowl (Horsham, Pa.) continued her blistering offensive pace with two hits in three at-bats and two runs scored in the first game of this afternoon's doubleheader. Audrey Grinnell (Saco, Maine) also led the Huskies with a pair of hits in the earlier contest. UCF finished with a 10-2 advantage in hits in game two, with Heather Fyfe (Bedford, N.H.) and Jacklyn Dubois (Mt. Vernon, N.H.) accounting for both of Connecticut’s hits.
The wins supplied UCF (38-15, 14-3 The American) with its first-ever regular season conference title, as it wins The American regular season crown outright and will be the top seed in the conference tournament next week. The Huskies (13-36, 3-16 The American) will be the eighth seed and face the Knights in a rematch on Thursday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m. CDT in Houston, Tex.
One stroke of the bat proved to be the difference in game one, as Kalyn Cenal blasted a grand slam over the fence in left field with an 0-2 count and two outs in the top of the first inning to put UCF ahead, 4-0.
The Knights added to the lead with a pair of runs on four hits in the second frame. Kahley Novak singled to center field then stole second base to reach scoring position. A ground out brought Novak to third, where she easily scored on a Farrah Sullivan single over the head of Heather Fyfe to the left field fence. Jessica Ujvari provided the RBI single to center field that pushed the UConn deficit to 6-0. UCF would go on to added another tally in the top of the third inning that ballooned the lead to 7-0.
The Huskies fought back with four unanswered runs over the course of the game in an effort to tie things up. On the heels of a 6-4-3 double play to end the fourth inning, Alyssa Gardea (Corona, Calif.) connected on the first pitch she saw to rope a double down the left field line. She would become the first Husky to touch home plate when Lexi Gifford (Natick, Mass.) hit a dribbler off the end of the bat that Jamie Ujvari fielded but miss threw to first base. The error brought Gardea around from second as UConn broke onto the board, 7-1.
The Huskies kept the rally going in the top of the sixth inning. Sadowl started things off with an infield single and reached second base on an error by the UCF shortstop. A fielder’s choice brought her to third base, where Jacklyn Dubois ensured she would score easily on a single to left field.
Headed into their final at-bats trailing 7-2, the Huskies doubled their run total in the comeback attempt. Maddy Schiappa (Bedford, N.H.) kept the Huskies alive when she used her speed to beat out an infield single. Sadowl stepped up to the plate and delivered a big triple that hooked around third base and into the outfield that brought Schiappa all the way around to score. Grinnell supplied the RBI single to left field that brought Sadowl home, but the Huskies would come no closer and take the 7-4 loss.
Katelyn Callahan (Queensbury, N.Y.) started in the circle for UConn but relinquished three walks and the fatal grand slam and was quickly replaced by Lauren Duggan (Norwood, Mass.). Duggan went .02 innings and allowed two runs before Alyson Ambler (Walla Walla, Wash.) came in to toss the final 5.2 innings.
Mackenzie Audas threw the first three innings for UCF, striking out four batters and allowing just one hit before Jamie Ujvarie took over to finish with the win over the final four innings.
Game two proved to be a pitching duel, as the two teams entered the fifth inning scoreless. UCF took control of the game with a pair of runs in the fifth inning before adding an insurance run in the top of the sixth for a final score of 3-0.
Knights pitcher Shelby Turnier collected her 18th win of the season in a dominant performance from the mound. She finished with shutouts to stymie the UConn offense, walking just one batter and allowing only two hits. Lena Springer, sister of former UConn Baseball standout and current Major Leaguer George Springer, recorded the final three outs of the game for UCF.
Kayla Doty (Ghent, N.Y.) threw five solid innings for UConn before Duggan came in to toss the remaining 2.0 innings.
The Huskies and Knights will meet again tomorrow for the final installment of the three-game set. First pitch is set for noon-time, with a Senior Day ceremony honoring Katelyn Callahan, Audrey Grinnell and Maddy Schiappa to preceding the start of game three.