Six-Run Inning Pushes UCF Past No. 24 South Carolina

ORLANDO – After dropping the first two games of the series to No. 24 South Carolina on Saturday, the No. 20 Knights bounced back in a big way on Sunday, posting 10 runs on 14 hits to take down the Gamecocks, 10-4, at their place. The win moved UCF to 19-6 on the season.
"It's always important to end the weekend on a high note," said head coach Cindy Ball-Malone. "We want to have that momentum going into our next contest and getting these games under our belt is nice as we head into the next phase of our schedule."
The Knights jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning courtesy of a Georgia Blair solo shot in the top of the first. The home run marked Blair's ninth on the season, tying her for first place in The American in that regard. She now also leads the league in RBI, walks and total bases.
The black and gold tacked on two more runs in the top of the third before South Carolina answered back with two of their own to make it a 3-2 game. That score would remain until UCF posted a monster six-run fifth inning that included four hits and four walks to go up 9-3 over the Gamecocks.
"I loved how the bottom of our lineup produced some runs for us and passed it on to the top of our lineup. It was awesome to see," continued Ball-Malone. "We played loose and we played our game. We're doing a better job of learning to stay the course instead of riding the ups and downs."
The Knights would add on to their lead in the seventh with another run while the Gamecocks would try to battle back by adding two more runs of their own, but it wouldn't be enough as the Knights would go on to win 10-4.
In the circle for UCF, Alea White was called on the start. White tossed 4.2 innings, allowing two earned on four hits and two walks while striking out six. With the win, she moves to 10-1 on the season. Following White out of the bullpen was Gianna Mancha, who contributed with 2.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out a pair.
The win marked the Knights' second over a top 25 team after UCF also took down No. 2 Arizona, 2-0, at the UCF Softball Complex on March 8.

Key Moments

  • Georgia Blair hit a solo homerun in the top of the first to put UCF up 1-0.
  • With runners on first and second and no outs in the third, the Knights put on a double steal and a Gamecocks miscue would allow Takiya London to score, extending UCF's lead to 2-0.
  • A sacrifice-fly from UCF backstop Karissa Ornelas later in the inning would put the Knights ahead 3-0.
  • A South Carolina sacrifice-fly in the bottom of the third, as well as some crafty baserunning, would plate two for the Gamecocks, making it a 3-2 ballgame.
  • Jazmine Esparza hit an RBI base hit to left in the fifth to put UCF's lead at 4-2.
  • The next batter, Kennedy Searcy, lined a triple to right to clear the bases and extend the Knights' lead to 6-2.
  • Later in the inning, Shannon Doherty walked with the bases loaded to put the black and gold up 7-2.
  • Still in the fifth inning, Ornelas singled up the middle to drive in two more Knights and extend their lead to 9-2.
  • South Carolina took advantage of a UCF error in the sixth to cut their deficit to 9-3.
  • The Gamecocks threw the ball away to allow another UCF run to score in the seventh, making it a 10-3 Knights' lead.
  • A solo home run in the bottom of the seventh cut the Gamecocks' deficit to 10-4.


  • UCF is now 2-3 against ranked opponents this season.
  • Clocking in at three hours and 14 minutes, it was the longest game of the year for the Knights.
  • With the win, Alea White moved to 10-1 on the season.
  • Georgia Blair's home run in the top of the first marked her team-high ninth of the year.
  • The Knights' 14 hits marked their second highest hit total in a game this season (15 vs. FGCU, Feb. 13)
  • UCF center fielder Kyra Klarkowski was 3-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.
  • It was Klarkowksi's second three-hit game of the season (March 14 vs. FAU)

The Knights will return to the UCF Softball Complex on March 24 for a Wednesday night showdown with No. 7 Florida. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.
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