Softball loses in extra innings to in-state rival UCF, 5-3 (8)
UCF plated two runs on a two-out double in the eighth inning to pull past the JU softball team, 5-3, on Wednesday night at the JU Softball Complex.

The Dolphins (3-9) lead initially and tied the game in the fifth inning, but Ashleigh Cole’s 3.1 scoreless innings of relief and Abby McClain’s run-scoring double in the eighth inning helped give UCF (5-6) the victory.

Cole (3-2) fanned three batters and gave up no hits to get the win in the circle, while McClain finished the game 3-for-5 with a run scored and a triple. UCF starter Magon Paul got a no-decision by surrendering three runs (two earned) on six hits in 4.2 innings of work.

Freshman Sarah Sigrest (2-5) was the unlucky loser for JU after fanning three batters in 6.0 relief innings, but gave up the game-winning hit to McClain in the eighth inning. Junior Brittany Abbott allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits in two innings to start.

Offensively, sophomore Kayla Ouellet paced JU by hitting 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored before leaving the game in the sixth inning due to injury. Sophomore Katie Kelly drove in two runs, while freshman Brie Carmack added a double in the fourth inning.

“We fought hard, but didn’t have enough to get the win,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “I was pleased with how well we played even though we had a couple of people out and had to shuffle the defensive alignment late in the game. As long as we keep working hard, good things will eventually fall into place for us.”

Ouellet led off JU’s first inning with a double over the head of left fielder Tenisha Dixon. Kelly followed by hitting home Ouellet to give the Dolphins a 1-0 lead.

The lead would be short lived as UCF tied the game in the second inning from a run-scoring double by Magon Paul.

McClain and Natalie Land each reached on consecutive JU fielding errors to start UCF’s third inning. Breanne Javier took advantage of the miscues by driving home both runners to give UCF a 3-1 lead.

With two outs in the fifth inning, Ouellet cut the lead to a run with a run-scoring triple to centerfield off Paul. Kelly followed with sharp single to left field to score Ouellet and tie the game.

Sigrest kept the Knights off the board by working around a two-out triple to McClain in the sixth inning and a hurling a scoreless seventh inning to force extra innings.

In the eighth inning, Sigrest retired the first two batters, but Lindsay Dean and Dixon recorded back-to-back singles to keep the inning alive. McClain delivered a long double to centerfield in the next at-bat to score both runners and give UCF a 5-3 lead, while Cole closed the door pitching a perfect bottom of the eighth to secure the win.

The Dolphins have the weekend off before returning to action on February 27 against Coastal Carolina and Vermont in the JU Invitational at the JU Softball Complex. First pitch against the Chanticleers is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.