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Orlando, F.L. – UTEP and UCF was in a pitching duel until the 11th inning. The Miners (12-22, 1-10 C-USA) scored two runs on a walk to take a 2-0 lead, but the Knights (21-21, 4-11 C-USA) got a walk-off grand slam from Farrah Sullivan to complete the sweep, 4-2 in 11 innings, on Sunday at the UCF Softball Complex.
Freshman Danielle Pearson (6-9) pitched a career high 10.2 innings, while Mackenzie Audas (10-13) pitched all 11 innings en route to tying a Conference USA record with 17 Ks. Audas picked up her third win of the weekend.
The scoring frenzy started in the away half of the 11th with one out when junior Miraya Montiel threw a bunt down to the pitcher and beat out the throw to first. Junior Erika Arcuri, with one of her three hits, singled to shallow left to put Montiel in scoring position. Audas gave up her only two walks of the day when she put senior Kayla Oranger on first to load the bases and then proceeded to walk senior Ashley Collazo on a 3-1 count to advance Montiel over the dish for a 1-0 lead.
After Montiel scored, a strange play happened when Arcuri made a heads up play to steal home to give her squad a 2-0 lead. UCF thought a timeout was called when catcher Kalyn Cenal trotted out to talk to her pitcher, but the umpire declared there was no timeout called and ruled the runner safe. After the confusion, Audas recorded strikeouts 16 and 17 to get out of the inning.
Pearson looked to pick up a win in her hometown, but got into a jam. With Kahley Novak at first, Pearson was able to sit down two UCF batters on a foul out to the right fielder and a ground out to the circle. Novak was put into scoring position on the ground out though. Maddy Schroeder then singled to center to put runners at the corners. Pearson gave up her first walk of the afternoon when Mariah Garcia advanced on four straight balls. Sullivan, who hit a walk-off single the day before, ripped a 3-1 pitch to center field to lift her squad.
The Miners will look to end a seven-game losing streak when they return to the Sun City to host Houston on April 13 and 14. First pitch of the Saturday doubleheader is at 2 p.m. MT.
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