UCF got off to a blistering start Sunday morning against Memphis and defeated the Tigers 8-1 giving them the series win.
It was all-around effort by the Knights with great defense and offense.
“We went through eight batters in the first inning and that’s what you’re looking for,” head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. “You’re looking for them to establish themselves in the first inning and kind of get that ball rolling and they did that today.”
UCF was seeing the ball well from the start of the game and had a total of 13 hits to only three by Memphis.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Knights put together a string of hits and scored three runs. Senior first baseman Kayln Cenal had two RBIs in the inning and an RBI later in the game on a sacrifice fly. She went 2-for-2 on the day.
“Basically I was looking for my pitch,” Cenal said. “I was feeling more comfortable at the plate and luckily they threw me my pitch and I ended up driving them in. It felt great.”
UCF’s defense was solid behind the pitching of senior Shelby Turnier, who pitched six innings allowing just three hits and recording seven strikeouts.
“She understood that it starts with her,” Luers-Gillispie said. “The defense just played terrific behind her. We had a lot more energy in the infield and the outfield, making the plays that we needed to make.”
Through four innings, Turnier was pitching a no hitter until Memphis sophomore shortstop Kyler Troscalir broke the no hitter in the top of the fifth inning.
“I’m actually really glad that it happened,” Turnier said. “If it didn’t happen in the fifth inning, it would have happened in the sixth, if didn’t happen in the sixth, it would have happened in the seventh.”
Turnier had pitched three no-hitters prior to today’s game, one against Memphis in 2014, another against East Carolina in 2015 and one against UConn in 2015.
“It always add more pressure to our defense and more pressure to me as a pitcher when I have something like that riding on the line,” Turnier said. “It’s just a statistic, it’s not anything special to me.”
UCF accomplished their ultimate goal and that was to beat Memphis and rebound from the 5-4 loss yesterday afternoon.
The Knights next contest will be Tuesday against Florida State in Tallahassee at 6:00 p.m.
Jean Racine is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future.