UCF Scores Three Late Runs to Beat Memphis, 3-1, in the C-USA Championship Semifinals
May 14, 2010
HOUSTON, Texas - The University of Memphis took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning, but No. 3 seed UCF scored three runs in the final two innings to beat the Tigers, 3-1, in the Conference USA Championship semifinal game at the Cougar Softball Stadium on Friday.
Memphis, the No. 7 seed in the tournament, ends its season with a 25-26 overall record, finishing six outs short of reaching its first ever conference championship game.
"We've had a goal ever since we started at Memphis to make the steps towards progress," said Memphis head coach Windy Thees. "Now here we are in the semifinals of the C-USA Championship, and we really want to take a lot more steps in one year, but so does everyone else. It takes time, patience, and we have some great recruits coming in (next year).
"We're going to miss Vanessa Walle and Leigh Rowan, our two seniors, but we feel really good about our team coming back next year. They're really disappointed, and I want them to feel like this. I want them to come back next year with that hunger."
Junior third baseman Maddie McKinley hit a high fly that carried over the left field fence to lead off the fourth inning to give Memphis a 1-0 lead. But UCF senior RHP Ashleigh Cole held Memphis hitless the remainder of the game, allowing for the Knights' comeback. Cole (23-12) allowed just two hits and struck out six.
"There's a reason why Ashleigh Cole was first team all-conference," Thees said. "She's an outstanding pitcher. We couldn't figure her out, and you can't win with only two hits."
Freshman Carly Hummel cruised through the first time down the UCF lineup, and allowed her first hit in nine innings in the fourth after holding Tulsa hitless in 5 2/3 perfect innings to end the game on Thursday. But a blister that has plagued her on her throwing finger down the stretch of the season, made it unable for her to finish the game. Hummel was replaced by senior Vanessa Walle in the sixth inning after giving up two-straight singles to lead off the frame.
UCF tied the score in the sixth inning on a RBI ground out by Marissa Menendez to score Natalie Land from third. The Knights then put runners on second and third in the seventh with one out. Memphis reliever Lauren Carley struck out Land for the second out, but Hillary Barrow connected with a double down the left field line to score the two runners and give UCF its first lead.
Hummel earned a no decision in the circle, allowing one run on five hits in five innings. Walle (8-13) suffered the loss after giving up one run on one hit in an inning of relief. Carley allowed one run on two hits in an inning of relief. Jessica Phillips was the only other Tiger to record a hit in the game with an infield single in the second inning. Memphis had just three base runners in the game with Lelani Bernardino reaching in the sixth on a hit by pitch.
"We started off really strong and had some rough spots in the middle of the year, and all teams go through their up and downs," Hummel said. "We finished strong like we started. We should have taken this game, and I really believe that, but it doesn't always fall your way."
Barrow led UCF with a 3-for-4 performance and two RBI. The Knights move on to the C-USA Championship game on Saturday against the winner of the No. 1 East Carolina at noon. The game will be televised live on CBS College Sports