The Knights easily defeated the Yale Bulldogs 8-2 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Friday night after a 5-1 loss to Notre Dame earlier in the day, which started off the Citrus Classic Tournament.
“We’ve struggled quite a bit but we knew that this game, we could come back, gain our confidence,” redshirt junior centerfielder Jasmine Acevedo said.
The junior outfielder contributed three RBIs to the Knights' strong offensive victory, going 1-2 with a walk.
“We were hitting the ball, we all came together as a team and we had the energy going,” freshman second baseman Taylor Bell said.
Bell was a difference-maker for the Knights Friday night, finishing with two RBIs and two hits, bringing an energy that was lacking in the Knight’s earlier game.
“I felt like that the energy Taylor Bell brought to the game was a big plus,” head coach Renee Gillispie said. “Bell has the heart of a lion when she plays, and you could see that by the way she played today.”
The Knights got off to a rocky start against the Bulldogs. Yale scored two runs at the top of the first inning thanks to an RBI by third baseman Allison Skinner. The Knights could not get their offense going in the bottom of the first, compiling no runs and only one hit.
Both UCF’s defense and offense improved significantly in the second inning. The Bulldogs were shut down in the top of the inning, with their first three sent back to the bench. The Knights then tied up the game in the bottom of the inning, thanks to the Bell’s first collegiate hit in her UCF career.
The Knights avoided a dangerous situation in the top of the third inning, forcing Yale’s third out while the bases were loaded. In the bottom of the third, the Knights’ offense exploded for four runs on three hits, building up to a 6-2 lead.
UCF ran away with the game from that point, scoring two more runs in the fourth inning and only allowing two more hits from Yale for the rest of the game.
The Knights, ranked No. 22 in this week’s USA Today/NFCA top 25, are now 5-8 on the season. They play Syracuse and Charlotte tomorrow at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex with the first game starting at 1:15 p.m. and the next starting at 3:30 p.m.
Christian Simmons is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.