After back to back losses, the Knights ran away with a victory against New Mexico State by scoring three runs in a shutout win on Tuesday night.
A strong pitching display combined with some stellar defense held the dangerous New Mexico State, who collectively has hit 28 home runs and scored 200 runs this season to nothing tonight.
“It’s how you bounce back. You have to be able to bounce back from game to game. There’s 56 games in a season. It’s a long season and if you dwell on the game before, especially if you play back-to-back games, you’ll just lose another one,” head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said.
Senior pitcher Shelby Turnier, who threw eight innings in the game before, started for the Knights in the evening game. She pitched four innings, struck out seven batters and allowed one hit. She improved her record to 9-9.
“I was just feeling good today. My arm felt good today. It felt like it had a lot of juice in it,” Turnier said.
Senior pitcher Jamie Ujvari relieved Turnier in the fifth inning. She held the visitors to three hits and a walk through three innings.
While UCF’s pitching kept the Aggies in check, an error allowed the Knights to score. In the second inning, freshman second baseman Cassady Brewer hit a single to right field. With two outs, redshirt junior outfielder Jasmine Acevedo hit a grounder to first base. The first baseman misplayed the ball, resulting in runners landing on the corners.
With runners on base and two outs, junior right fielder Willow Kalinen scored the first run when she hit a high chopper to the second baseman for an infield single, scoring Brewer.
“[Scoring early] takes a lot of the pressure off our defense and pitching,” Turnier said.
The Knights would strike again in the third inning. Sophomore third baseman Courtney Rotton started the rally with a walk, bringing up senior designated player Jessica Ujvari.
When Ujvari hit a ball hard down the third-base line into the corner of the outfield for a triple, Rotton scored.
“The third base line was calling the name on that hit,” Ujvari said.
Senior catcher Samantha McCloskey scored the final run of the day when she singled to left-field.
“Within the fourth inning, we had the runs in. Each game is a learning experience. We used that first game to make adjustments that were needed in the second game. I think our batters settled in, and it really showed,” Ujvari said.
In the final inning of the game, New Mexico State tried to bunt a runner on base. Rotton barehanded the ball and made an off balance throw for the out at first base. Coach Gillispie said it was the best she’s seen Rotton play.
The Knights won game No. 20 improving their record to 20-10.
The Knights will play a rematch against New Mexico State at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday before heading to Baylor for the weekend.
Johnathan Kuntz is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.