Knights Split With No. 16 Michigan, No. 1 UCLA

Gallery: UCLA/LBSU Invitational Box Score (Michigan) Box Score (UCLA) Watch: Bear Postgame

LOS ANGELES – The Knights continued to prove that they deserve to be in the conversation with some of the best teams in the country as they split two games with No. 16 Michigan and No. 1 UCLA Friday at the UCLA/LBSU Invitational. The Black and Gold began the day defeating No. 16 Michigan, 3-2, in walk-off fashion before falling just short against No. 1 UCLA, 4-2.

"I thought we played two solid games today... We knew this tournament wasn't going to be easy and that is exactly what we wanted," said UCF Softball head coach Cindy-Ball Malone. "Defensively, pitching, offensively, we just had clutch situations against two great teams. It's fun to watch right now. It's fun to watch them play loose and have fun. "

UCF 3 // #16 Michigan 2
 The Knights continued to turn heads within the softball community in the Friday opener as UCF battled with No. 16 Michigan before walking it off to win 3-2 in extra innings.

It began as a pitchers' duel as the two sides traded solo home runs through the first seven innings of the game to end regulation tied at one.

With both teams tied after seven, extra innings were needed to determine a winner. Per tournament rules, each team started their half of the inning with a runner placed on second base and no outs. Michigan took a 2-1 lead in the top of the eighth but the Knights answered back with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning to walk it off and claim the 3-2 victory.

Starting pitcher Breanna Vasquez was in top form, throwing 4.1 innings and allowing just two hits, including the solo home run before being pulled for Alea White, who was also lights out. White tossed 3.1 innings, allowing just one hit to earn her ninth victory on the season.
Offensively, Jazmine Esparza contributed with a solo shot in the third, her first of the year. Meanwhile, batting at the top of the order for the first time all season, Denali Schappacher was 1-for-4, but was responsible for both the game-tying and game-winning runs.

With the win over No. 16 Michigan, UCF moved to 17-3 on the season.


  • Jazmine Esparza led off the bottom of the third with a deep solo home run to dead center field, putting UCF up 1-0.
  • Michigan answered back with a solo home run of their own in the fifth to tie the game at one.
  • With the international tie-breaker rule in effect, Michigan began the eighth win a runner on second and no outs. The Wolverines capitalized, going up 2-1 on a two-out single to right.
  • The Knights answered back in the bottom half of the inning, bunting over Kyra Klarkowski before Denali Schappacher drove her in with an infield single.
  • With Schappacher on third, the Wolverines attempted to intentionally walk Shannon Doherty when a pitch got away, going all the way to the backstop to allow Schappacher to score and lead UCF to the 3-2 walk-off victory.

UCF 2 // #1 UCLA 4
 The Knights didn't have long to enjoy the victory over No. 16 Michigan as they had to turn around and immediately prepare to face No. 1 UCLA in front of the Bruins' home crowd.

The Black and Gold battled hard in the contest, going up 1-0 early before a three-run UCLA home run put the Bruins ahead. The Knights were not able to make up the ground as they would go on to lose 4-2.

Despite the loss, Alea White once again proved to be an ace. Coming out of the bullpen for the second game in a row, White tossed 4.1 innings pitched and struck out four, allowing no runs against the potent Bruins' lineup.

Juliana Wilson was 1-for-2 with an RBI in the contest while Denali Schappacher also contributed with an RBI. Schappacher finished the day going 2-for-7 with two RBI, two stolen bases and a run scored between the two games.

The loss to the Bruins moved UCF to 17-4 on the year.


  • The Knights struck first in the contest as Juliana Wilson doubled down the right field line to drive in Denali Schappacher, who led off the game with a walk.
  • With one swing of the bat, the Bruins took the 3-1 lead on a home run to straight away center field in the bottom of the first.
  • With Justene Molina in scoring position in the second inning, Denali Schappacher rocketed a single that ricocheted off the third baseman into center field, allowing Molina to score and cutting the UCLA lead to 3-2.
  • A UCLA sacrifice fly brought in their fourth run of the game to put the Bruins up 4-2.


  • The win over Michigan marked the first time the Knights have ever defeated the Wolverines.
  • It was the fifth game played and third UCF win over a top 20 ranked team this season.
  • With the win in game one, Alea White picked up career win number 75.
  • White had a combined 7.2 innings pitched, three hits allowed, six strikeouts and no earned runs allowed between the two games.
  • The home run from Jazmine Esparza in game one was her first since March 30, 2019, when UCF defeated ECU 5-3.

The Knights will be back in action on Saturday as they play two games at Long Beach State, beginning with Cal State Fullerton at 1 p.m. ET followed by a 3:30 p.m. ET game against Long Beach State.

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