The UCF Knights softball team had built plenty of confidence with wins at home following the difficult start against elite opponents. The Knights were ready for another test. Their first road trip in three weeks against a tough Baylor Bears team.
UCF had another chance to stand tall. And again could not generate the runs against a good pitching staff to get over the hump and back in the winner’s circle. The Knights have had ample opportunity to build up RPI and again could not cash in on the chance.
This time it was Big 12 power Baylor taking a series sweep in Waco, scoring no more than three runs in any of the three games. The Knights pitching was again enough to give them a chance, but the bats were not there.
In the opener, Shelby Turnier and Heather Stearns were locked in the pitcher’s duel expected among the best teams in the country. Stearns gave up just one hit and one run and Turnier gave up only five hits.
The game was tied entering the seventh inning when Caitlin Charlton hit a two-run walkoff home run for a 3-1 win. The Bears kept things going for a 2-0 win in the second game of Saturday’s impromptu double header (Friday’s game was postponed).
Turnier again was strong in Sunday’s finale and held off Baylor, but walks got Turnier in trouble. The Bears scored three runs on two hits, getting the three in the fifth inning to complete a sweep 3-0.
The Knights tallied just six hits the entire weekend in scoring one run. It was an offensive struggle for UCF with Heather Stearns shutting the door throughout the weekend.
UCF though again held its own and had a chance to win. The team just could not plate enough runs to stay in the game. Shelby Turnier had 10 walks in her two starts this weekend.
The Knights have struggled against strong RPI and ranked teams. This is still a very good team that is going to pick up a lot of wins. But the dreams of hosting a NCAA Regional seem to have gone by the wayside with the performance in non-conference season.
There is still plenty of reason for confidence as the offense tries to get itself in gear. UCF has three more games before the end of non-conference season including a big game and one last non-conference challenge against Florida State at UCF on March 29.