Central Florida beats No. 3 Florida

Florida senior Michelle Moultrie (Jacksonville, Fla.) was 2-for-3 on the evening, accounting for UF’s two hits in the contest against UCF, but the Knights got the best of the Gators Wednesday in Orlando, coming out on top with a 2-0 victory at the UCF Softball Complex. The No. 3/4 Gators moved to 35-5 overall on the season and will return to SEC play with a three-game set against Auburn this weekend at home.

UCF hurler Mackenzie Audas (16-5) fanned 11 Gator batters, while dealing out three walks in the complete-game two-hit shutout. It was a pitcher’s duel all around as Florida sophomore ace Hannah Rogers (Lake Wales, Fla.) retired seven Knights by strikeout, giving up just three hits and UCF’s two first-inning runs, while only walking one and shouldering just her third loss of the season to move to 20-3.

A total 747 fans, the second-largest crowd in UCF history, gathered in Orlando to watch the in-state rivalry shootout, as the Knights tallied their first-ever win against the Gators at home.

UCF’s Farrah Sullivan roped a base hit to left field in the first stanza that allowed two Knights to cross home for the early 2-0 lead that would eventually be the final. Two of UCF’s three base hits on the evening came in the first inning, as Natalie land led off the UF-UCF clash with a hit to second base before Sullivan connected to send Land and Vanessa Perez – who walked – across home.

Danielle Brewer then led off the home half of the second inning with the third and final hit of the game for UCF with a single through the right side, but Rogers and the Gators kept the Knights off the scoreboard with a fielder’s choice, a strikeout and a ground out.

After freshman Katie Medina (Downey, Calif.) drew a one-out walk in the third stanza for the Orange and Blue, Moultrie connected for UF’s first base hit of the contest, dropping a two-out lob in shallow left center for runners on second and third, but a lineout to UCF’s third baseman prevented the Gators from capitalizing.

After 15 consecutive batters sat down in order in both teams’ dugouts through the next two and a half innings, Moultrie struck again the top of the sixth for Florida, laying down a one-out bunt single to get on base. Audas, however, used the UCF momentum to force a lineout, while then chalking up her 10th strikeout of the game to retire the side.

With two outs on the board in the top of the seventh, junior Kelsey Horton (Valrico, Fla.) drew UF’s third walk of the game for a little hope, but an ensuing groundout to first base ended the tilt, allowing UCF to improve to 30-10 on the season.

Florida next clashes with Auburn in a three-game set to kick off their four remaining SEC series April 13-15 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Game times are 6 p.m., 1 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the series with the Tigers.

Courtesy UF Communications