The Knights did not let the weather affect them as they defeated Memphis 4-2 in seven innings after a one-hour weather delay.
Senior pitcher Shelby Turnier pitched a complete game, pitching all seven innings.
“I think Shelby did a great job on the mound,” head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. “Keeping them off balance, we knew that they had a lot of speed….we knew we had to be a lot tougher defensively. We allowed them to get hits on the infield.”
Hits were even, both teams getting seven, but UCF held Memphis inside the infield.
“I was doing a good job keeping their hitters off balance,” Turnier said. “Keeping the ball in the infield, ground balls, pop flies, things like that. Letting my defense do the work and the offense was great tonight.”
UCF’s offense was led by senior catcher Samantha McCloskey, who went 1-2 at bat, and hit a line-drive home run to right field, batting in two runs.
“It was good, it felt really good,” McCloskey said. “I was trying to make anything to help my team have a score."
The bat of senior first baseman Kalyn Cenal was also hot, going 2-3 with one RBI. The Knights capitalized when they had runners on base and in scoring position.
“We try to do just the fundamentals of softball,” McCloskey said. "Base hit, base hit, big hit, maybe a bunt here or there. But it’s definitely contagious when somebody gets on base and we can just get excited for each other.”
Going into the seventh inning the score was 4-1, but the game was suspended due to lightning in the area.
The Knights received a little bit of a scare when the teams resumed play in seventh inning when Memphis cut the lead to 4-2.
But with bases loaded twice in the top of the seventh inning, Turnier maintained her composer and closed out the game, recording her 14th win of the season.
Turnier said she did not feel any pressure on her at the end of the game.
“My team knew that I was throwing good pitches," Turnier said. “We weren’t getting the calls, so there’s really nothing more that I could do, except for put it in their hitter’s hands and allow my defense to do the work.”
Coach Luers-Gillispie has tremendous confidence in her number one pitcher and did not even consider taking her out of the game.
“She wanted that game,” Luers-Gillispie said. “She wanted to shut them down and she was ready.”
Despite the weather delay, Turnier and Knights gutted it out and came out victorious.
“It’s tough when you coming off a rain delay and then get at that motivation to come back and when you’re only three outs away,” Luers-Gillispie said. “In that situation, you just can’t panic, you just got to relax, you got to know that you’ve got a handle on that.”
Luers-Gillispie said the Knights learned a lesson on how to stay motivated if you have a rain delay.
“You have to prepare yourself for those kind of situations," Luers-Gillispie said. “Everything that we have in these situations is a learning experience and they know that if we ever have another rain delay, we’ll be ready to go.”
The Knights will battle Memphis tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m. in UCF Softball Complex.
Jean Racine is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future.