Knights Tie No. 18 Minnesota, Defeat SDSU

Gallery: UCLA/LBSU Invitational Box Score (SDSU) Box Score (No. 18 Minnesota)

LONG BEACH, Calif. – The UCF softball team continued to impress during their time on the west coast on Sunday, taking down San Diego State University, 5-3 in the morning before battling with and tying No. 18 Minnesota, 5-5 after eight innings of play.
Following the day, the Knights move to 19-5-1 on the season.

"It was yet another great day for our squad. I was Impressed with our fight and competitive spirit against two great teams and pitchers," said UCF Softball head coach Cindy Ball-Malone. "Our lineup can compete with anyone in the country and it's fun to see them get the results they have trained for all year.
"Our team's depth showed today with clutch hits off the bench, throwing a runner out from the outfield and pitchers coming in and slowing the game down. As a coach, I am pleased with our progress every game and all of the experience this entire team is gaining. We look forward to finishing our time in California on a strong note."

UCF 5 // SDSU 3

UCF seemed to be on a mission Sunday morning in game one as Alea White earned the start in the circle and was in top form while the offense posted a big sixth inning to vault the Knights to a 5-3 win over San Diego State University at the Long Beach State Softball Complex.
White was cruising through the first five frames of the game. Heading into the sixth, the senior from Land O' Lakes, Fla. had allowed just one hit and struck out six to keep SDSU off the board. In the sixth, however, White ran into some issues as she allowed three earned on two walks and two hits, including a solo home run. She settled back in for the seventh, closing things out to secure the 5-3 win and earn her 10th victory of the season.
The Knights' offense also enjoyed a big sixth inning. Headed into the inning, UCF had scored just one run on a Shannon Doherty solo shot. In total in the sixth, The Black and Gold combined for four runs on four hits to really put some distance between them and SDSU. Jazmine Esparza enjoyed a nice game all around, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored while also making some key defensive putouts to help UCF earn the win.

With the win, the Knights moved to 19-5 on the year.


  • The Knights struck first as Shannon Doherty crushed home run number two on the year in the fourth, putting UCF up 1-0.
  • The Knights loaded the bases in the sixth and Kyra Klarkowski laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to drive in Takiya London for the second UCF run of the day.
  • The following batter, Jazmine Esparza, doubled off the right field wall to drive in two more, putting the Knights ahead 4-0.
  • Hayley Bejarano followed with an RBI base hit of her own, extending the UCF lead to 5-0.
  • San Diego State posted a strong sixth inning of their own, scoring on a solo home run and a two-RBI double to cut the Knights' lead to 5-3.

UCF 5 // No. 18 Minnesota 5 (DRAW)

It what amounted to one of the most evenly matched games of the year for UCF, the Knights traded blows with No. 18 Minnesota before finally settling on a 5-5 tie due to Minnesota travel constraints.
The Knights exploded for four runs through the first two innings of play and Breanna Vasquez, who was called on to make her eighth start of the season, was tasked with defending the early lead. Meanwhile, the Gophers offense came to play also as Minnesota scored a run in each of the first five innings of the game. Through six innings, the Gophers led the Knights 5-4.
Down to their final out, UCF came back to tie the game at five apiece and extra innings were needed to determine a winner. Neither side could muster a run in the eighth and before the ninth inning began, the coaching staffs met with umpires to determine that the game would end with a hard 3:15 p.m. PT cutoff. Neither team had taken the lead and when that time was met, the umpires called the game and the two sides ended in a 5-5 draw.
The tie marked the first of the season for UCF, moving their season record to 19-5-1.


  • With UCF runners on first and third in the first inning, Justene Molina stole second and a Minnesota overthrow allowed Denali Schappacher to score from third, putting the Knights up 1-0 early.
  • In the same inning, Shannon Doherty singled to left to drive in Molina for the second UCF run of the game.
  • Minnesota struck back in the bottom half of the inning with a RBI double down the right field line, making it a 2-1 game.
  • Jazmine Esparza kept the hot bat going in the top of the second as she roped a double to left center, scoring Kyra Klarkowski and putting UCF up 3-1.
  • The next batter, Schappacher, singled to short and a Gophers error allowed Esparza to come home, extending the Knights' lead to 4-1.
  • A Minnesota solo home run in the bottom of the second cut the UCF lead to 4-2.
  • A Gophers' RBI double in the third cut the Knights' lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the third.
  • Another Gophers' RBI double tied things up at four apiece in the fourth.
  • Minnesota loaded the bases and drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to take the 5-4 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
  • Down to the last out, Karissa Ornelas laced an RBI single back up the middle to get another UCF run on the board and tie the game at five all.


  • No. 18 Minnesota marked the seventh Top 20 matchup the Knights have faced to this point in the 2020 season
  • The tie against Minnesota marked the first of the season for UCF and just the second tie in program history (2005 - 4-4 vs Michigan State).
  • Following the weekend, Jazmine Esparza raised her weekend slash line to .368/.429/.684 with one home run and six RBI.
  • With the win over San Diego State in game one, Alea White recorded her 10th win of the year and career win No. 76. The all-time UCF record is 80, held by Shelby Turnier (2013-2016).

UCF will stay in southern California for a few more days as the Knights will play one-off games with CSUN and Call State Fullerton on Monday and Wednesday, respectively, before heading to Mississippi for a three game series with Ole Miss.

Stay tuned to UCF Softball on Facebook (/UCFSoftball), Twitter (@UCF_Softball) and Instagram (@UCF.Softball) for the latest on the UCF softball team.

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