UCF Softball’s Dream Season Ends in Tallahassee Regional

Mackenzie Audas
Senior pitcher Mackenzie Audas finished her UCF career with the most wins in program history at 78. (Photo: UCF Athletics)

The UCF Softball team’s 2015 season came to an end at the Tallahassee Regional on Sunday, courtesy of a 5-1 loss to hosts Florida State. The Knights finished the season at 50-9 – their winningest season in program history.

The road to Sunday was bumpy enough for the Knights.

They began the regional on Friday with a 5-1 victory over South Carolina, which put them in the winner’s side of the bracket against the Seminoles on Saturday.

Things were going well for the Knights, who were nursing a 1-0 lead over the hosts (courtesy of a Farrah Sullivan home run) heading into the bottom of the seventh, with NCAA ERA leader Shelby Turnier in the circle.

Then it happened.

A solo home run by Florida State’s Maddie O’Brien tied it, and then after a walk to Jessica Warren, Alex Powers tripled down the right field line to hand the Knights a stunning 2-1 loss. That put UCF in an elimination game later that day against South Carolina once again.

After falling down 1-0, the Knights struck for five runs in in the fourth, and then held on for the 5-2 win over the Gamecocks. Mackenzie Audas threw a complete game, striking out five, and Linnea Goodman went 3/4 at the plate with a pair of RBI. The Knights’ rebound victory got them to Sunday, and at least one more shot at the 9th-overall-seeded Seminoles.

Needing to win twice to get out of the regional, UCF could only muster two hits against FSU’s Jessica Burroughs, while UCF starter Shelby Turnier got touched up for a pair of runs in the third. Audas came in to clean up, but gave up three runs in her final appearance as a Knight, and UCF was sent home.

Here are some highlights and reaction, courtesy of UCF:

The loss was a bittersweet pill for UCF to swallow after posting the most victories and fewest losses in one season since the start of the program in 2002. A few other milestones:

  • It was the first time the Knights reached back-to-back NCAA Tournaments.
  • It was the first time UCF won both the conference regular season and tournament titles in the same year.
  • Audas finished with the most wins in school history at 78.
  • UCF as a team finished with a 0.93 team ERA, the lowest in the nation in 2015 and the lowest in school history.
  • Audas (0.95) and Turnier (0.87) both finished 2015 with ERAs under one.
  • Senior Kahley Novak finished her career with a program-best 125 career stolen bases.

On top of that, the Knights’ bus broke down on the long drive back home from Tallahassee. But, true to form, just a few hours after their season-ending defeat, the Knights took it in stride, with a little help from the UCF Baseball team:

In Other UCF News…

UCF Baseball finished its 2015 regular season by dropping two out of three to rival USF in Tampa over the weekend. The Knights finish the regular season at 31-25 (10-14 in The American), but lost 20 of their final 31 games. UCF landed in seventh out of eight teams in the final conference standings.

UCF now heads to Clearwater for the American Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament, May 19-24. The Knights begin the dual-bracket, double-elimination tournament against East Carolina on Wednesday at 11 a.m. You can find complete information and schedules for the tournament here.

The UCF Women’s Rowing Team took home its first-ever team conference title at the American Athletic Conference Championships, thanks to a clutch performance in both Varsity Eights races, where they outpaced Tulsa in both heats. The Knights now head to the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Sacramento, California from May 29-31.