The UCF Knights were firing on all cylinders on Wednesday night when they beat up on Ball State, winning 8-0 in only five innings, improving their winning streak to 11 games.
From the moment senior pitcher Shelby Turnier stepped into the pitcher’s circle, she was locked in. After a grueling 10 inning game on Tuesday night, Turnier added in some sharpness to her performance tonight. Turnier only pitched three innings, but struck out five hitters, not allowing a single hit.
“Shelby did a great job keeping us into the game,” head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. “That was a true staff effort.”
The Knights scored early thanks to Tuesday’s hero, senior catcher Samantha McCloskey as she crushed a ball off the fence in right-center field scoring junior shortstop Brittany Solis. Freshman second baseman Cassady Brewer knocked in the second run when she hit the ball to shortstop, allowing McCloskey to slide into third under the tag.
“It’s very important to jump on [teams] early so we can keep the energy and help our pitchers out, because they work very hard for us,” sophomore third baseman Courtney Rotton said.
UCF continued to put pressure on Ball State, scoring three more runs in the second inning.
Redshirt junior centerfielder Jasmine Acevedo started the inning off with a single to right field with number nine-hitter, junior outfielder Willow Kalinen singling and then junior outfielder Linnea Goodman walking, loading the bases for the Knights.
Solis hit into a fielder’s choice, but Acevedo was able to score. Rotton hit a double to right-center scoring Goodman and Kalinen.
In the third inning, Kalinen drew a walk and stole second base and Goodman singled to right field scoring Kalinen. After back to back errors, Goodman made it home safely.
“Last night was a long game, but we came through in the end, and I think that energy kind of carried over into today, and we just kept hitting and putting the ball into play,” Goodman said. "I think it helped us win in such a short amount of time today.”
Junior pitcher Manami Calixto relieved Turnier and pitched two innings, allowing two hits and striking out one batter.
The Knights pitching staff continues to impress, as the 11 game winning streak has shown that UCF’s pitchers have not allowed more than two runs in a single game each time they play.
The Knights hope to continue their winning streak on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. when they face Florida Gulf Coast.
Johnathan Kuntz is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.