Softball Set to Open Conference Play

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UCF vs Houston
Friday, March 26 | 4:00 PM
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UCF vs Houston
Friday, March 26 | 6:30 PM
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UCF vs Houston
Saturday, March 27 | 3:00 PM
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UCF vs Houston
Sunday, March 28 | 12:00 PM
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ORLANDO – The No. 22 UCF softball team, fresh off a walk-off win over No. 5 Florida, will look to protect the plex again this weekend as Houston comes to town, kicking off conference play for the Knights with four games in three days.
The Knights will begin the weekend with a doubleheader on Friday. Game one will start at 4:00 p.m. and game two will commence approximately thirty minutes after game one. The Knights will battle the Cougars again on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. before wrapping things up with a noon first pitch on Sunday.
All four games will be streamed live on ESPN+.

Capacity for The UCF Softball Complex this season is roughly fifty percent of full capacity.
A very limited number of single-game tickets will be made available 24-48 hours prior to each home game. Single game ticket inventory will come from unclaimed visiting team and player guest ticket allotments and will vary by game.
Fans interested in purchasing tickets are encouraged to check their UCF Account Manager page HERE leading up to each home game for ticket availability.
All tickets will be $10 general admission seats. There will be NO walk-up tickets available day of game as it is online purchase only.
Fans will be required to wear face coverings at all times, except while actively eating or drinking. Other safety measures in place for the 2021 season include:

  • Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the concourse
  • Bathrooms and other common touch points will be cleaned and sanitized regularly
  • COVID-19 signage encouraging best practices will be located throughout the facility
  • Certain seating will be blocked off to encourage physical distancing

For the latest information on ticketing for 2021 UCF Softball home events, contact the ticket office at (407) 823-1000, or follow us on social at UCF Softball on Facebook (/UCFSoftball), Twitter (@UCF_Softball) and Instagram (@UCF.Softball).

Houston is 9-16 to this point in the year, but has faced a daunting schedule as they haven't shied away from facing some of the best teams in the country. With six games against ranked teams already under their belt, the Cougars are fresh off two against RV Baylor, who is receiving votes in both major polls.

Houston split with Baylor with a 3-1 win and a 2-1 loss. The Cougars also played McNeese State on Wednesday, falling 9-3.

With a 4-2 win over then No. 7 Oklahoma State on March 13, junior Rachel Hertenberger collected her second win over a top-25 team in her career. In five of her last six games she's started against ranked opponents, Hertenberger has surrendered two or fewer runs in those starts.

Having started the past 165 games for the Cougars, senior Sarah Queen has been a rock in the Houston lineup for years. A steady presence of consistency, Queen's .383 batting average this season puts her on pace to post back-to-back years with an average above the .330 mark.

The Knights are 23-20 all-time against Houston, with their last matchup on April 28, 2019 resulting in a 9-1 loss for UCF.
The Knights' win over No. 5 Florida on Wednesday marked their second top-five win of the season (No. 2 Arizona, 2-0). It was UCF's sixth game against a top-25 opponent in 2021 as the Knights have already done battle with then No. 20 Mizzou (L, 6-5), No. 2 Arizona (W, 2-0) and No. 24 South Carolina (L, 9-1, L, 4-2, W, 10-4). UCF's matchup with the Gators marked just the second time in program history that the two sides have squared off while ranked in the top 25. The first time was on Feb. 25, 2015 when then No. 15 UCF lost to then No.1 Florida, 2-1, in Gainesville.

Following a week that saw the Knights go 2-3, including a win over then No. 24 South Carolina, the Knights are holding relatively steady in several national polls. The USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll was released on Tuesday and the Knights checked in at No. 22. The Knights, who were predicted to finish first in the American Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll in early January, are the sole AAC team to make an appearance in the top 25. The Knights were also ranked No. 17 in the JWOS Top 25 Poll, No. 22 in the D1 Softball poll and No. 24 in the USA Softball/ESPN rankings.

The Knights are leading the American Athletic Conference in stolen bases, and it's not even close. Heading into the week, UCF is 42-for-51 (.820) in stolen base attempts, with the second closest AAC team Memphis, at 27-for-31 (.870). While we're at it, UCF also leads The American in batting average (.351) and runs scored (162) just to name a few.

UCF senior Gianna Mancha was named the Wilson/NFCA National Pitcher of the Week on March 16 after posting one of the best weeks in program history. Mancha was called on to start three times over the week, guiding the Knights to three victories, including over then No. 2 Arizona. Mancha tossed 20 scoreless innings and allowed just seven hits and no runs while striking out 30. On March 15, Mancha was named the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week for the second week in a row. Heading into Wednesday's game against No. 5 Florida, Mancha was 8-3, owned a team-low 1.66 season ERA and has 76 strikeouts in 63.1 innings pitched. The Wilson/NFCA National Pitcher of the Week award marked the fourth in program history as Shelby Turnier won the award three times (Feb. 17, 2015, March 31, 2015 and April 7, 2015). Stephanie Best was also named the NFCA Player of the Week on March 19, 2003.

UCF Softball has a new all-time wins leader in Alea White. White secured career win No. 81 in the series finale over New Mexico State, passing Shelby Turnier as the winningest pitcher in program history. On the mound, White was lights out in her record-setting performance. She was perfect through four and threw a complete game, allowing no earned runs on just four hits while striking out eight. 

Questions about protocols for the 2021 season? Check out the A-Z guide HERE for answers.

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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