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Lancers go 2-3 in UCF Invitational

Longwood University’s softball team saw its first action this past weekend since it was announced Head Coach Kathy Riley would take a leave of absence for the remainder of the 2020 season to address a private matter.

The Lancers went 2-3 in Orlando, Florida, at the University of Central Florida (UCF) Invitational, which spanned Feb. 28-March 1.

Ball State University handed Longwood a 12-3 defeat Friday, Feb. 28, but the Lancers recovered later that day to win 2-0 against Columbia University.

Longwood opened its day Saturday, Feb. 29, with a 4-1 victory against Long Island University, but then fell 3-1 to host UCF in the evening.

The Lancers capped their play in the invitational with another game against UCF Sunday, March. The Knights used late-inning success to win 2-0.

All-Big South pitcher Sydney Backstrom was tabbed for the start in the circle for the Lancers Sunday, and she did not disappoint for Longwood (5-9). She pitched four scoreless innings before UCF’s offense was able to put up the first run of the game in the fifth inning.

Backstrom and UCF’s duo of Breanne Vasquez and Gianna Mancha put on a pitching display as the trio combined to allow only 10 hits and two runs in the game.

Backstrom went the distance for the Lancers with six innings of work, with the Knights scattering six hits and two runs, while Backstrom finished with three strikeouts.

The Knights (16-2) are not a team to take lightly as they extend their winning streak to 11 games, including two victories over then-No. 12 University of Tennessee.

The Lancers will stay in Florida to finish a stretch of 15 straight games in the Sunshine State with “The Spring Games” March 6-8. Longwood will play five games over the three days, with Niagara, Valparaiso, Creighton, Bethune-Cookman and No. 9 Florida on the schedule.