WSU Softball takes two from first-place UCF

ORLANDO, Fla. (WSU) - Hanging on to a one-run lead heading into the seventh inning, the Wichita State softball team edged out UCF to claim the series with a 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Mauriana Jamele came up with a season-high two hits in just her third start of the season while Kaylee Huecker tied a career high with two hits in three at-bats. Erin McDonald came up with her eighth win of the season after pitching another complete game and collecting two strikeouts.

Following a single, wild pitch and sacrifice bunt to advance a runner to third, UCF took the early one-run lead in the bottom of the first after a successful double steal attempt. Jamele responded with a leadoff single in the top of the second, with Bailee Nickerson drawing a walk in the next at-bat. Huecker came up with a single to left field to drive in the tying run, but UCF tagged out both Wichita State runners after the play to end the inning without further damage.

McDonald retired six of the next seven UCF batters before Wichita State had offensive momentum in the top of the fourth, with Laurie Derrico and Jamele coming up with singles and advancing in scoring position off a passed ball. After Nickerson got out 2-4-3-6 putout, UCF tagged Derrico out at home and forced a fly out to keep the game tied.

Continuing her dominance in the circle, McDonald only allowed a single in the next two innings to keep things tied at one run heading into the sixth inning. After coming in the clutch by driving in the go-ahead run in Saturday's victory, Madison Perrigan once again came up with the play the Shockers needed in the top of the sixth. Perrigan came up with a solo home run to left field that drove in the game winning run.

After Wichita State forced UCF into two more ground outs and caught the runner stealing, the Knights looked to snatch the victory by drawing two walks with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Hitting a deep ball into left field, Nickerson came up with a catch in left field for the second out with UCF runners advancing to second and third. McDonald, however, would deny the Knights a chance for a come back by forcing Erin Emmanuel into a line out to second base to end the game.

Derrico extended her hit streak to four games, with seven of Wichita State's nine batters coming up with at least one hit. Derrico was also one putout shy of matching her career high, coming up with four on Sunday.

Wichita State (23-17, 4-5) goes back on the road on Wednesday to face Arkansas at 4 p.m. before traveling to Memphis for a three-game series in conference play beginning on Friday.