Softball Takes Two From Houston

ORLANDO – The Knights couldn't have asked for a better start to the conference portion of their schedule as UCF took both games of a doubleheader with Houston on Friday to move to 22-6 on the season and 2-0 in conference play.
"It gives us good momentum heading into tomorrow and for a four-game series, that is very important," said head coach Cindy Ball-Malone. "We're glad to get those wins under our belt and we'll be ready to get back after it tomorrow."
UCF will play the Cougars again on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. before wrapping up the series on Sunday with a noon start time.

GAME ONE – UCF 2 // Houston 1

It was a pitcher's duel in game one as the two sides were tied at one after regulation, needing extra innings to settle a winner before a walk-off home run from Jada Cody gave UCF the 2-1 walk-off victory over the Cougars.
Alea White was called on to start and was her usual ace self, tossing eight innings of one-run ball, allowing just five hits while striking out four. With the win, White moves to 11-1 on the season.
White was opposed by Houston starter Rachel Hertenberger, who tossed an equally impressive seven strong innings, allowing just two earned to a UCF lineup that has posted on average over six runs per game in 2021.
The walk-off marked UCF's second straight as the Knights also walked off No. 5 Florida on Wednesday to win 8-6. The home run by Cody was her third of the season and UCF's 31st as a team.
Key Moments

  • Houston struck first with a sacrifice-fly in the top of the first, putting them up 1-0.
  • With a runner on second and two away, Juliana Wilson singled up the middle to drive in a run and tie the game at one.
  • The Cougars almost took the lead in the top of the seventh on an RBI double down the line, but on further review, the ball was called foul. Alea White went on to strike out the batter and get out of the inning unscathed.
  • Jada Cody led off the bottom of the eighth for UCF and hit the second pitch she saw to over the fence, walking it off for the Knights with a final score of 2

GAME TWO – UCF 5 // Houston 1

Another strong performance in the circle by UCF, as well as some timely hitting and long balls would guide the Knights to the 5-1 win over Houston in game two.
After allowing a run in the top of the first, UCF starter Gianna Mancha was on her A-game, striking out the four batters through her first two innings and allowing just the one run on six hits. With the win, Mancha moves to 9-3 on the season.
The long ball was a key factor in the win for the Knights as Shannon Doherty hit a two-run shot in the third to give the black and gold the 2-1 lead and Jazmine Esparza knocked one out of the park in the sixth to give UCF two more insurance runs, putting them up 5-1. The two home runs marked the Knights 32nd and 33rd of the season, respectively.
Both Doherty and Esparza finished game two 2-for-3. Denali Schappacher also turned in a multi-hit performance as the right fielder was 2-for-3 at the dish and also made a stellar defensive snag in the fifth to save the Cougars from hitting an extra base hit.
With the win in game two, UCF moves to 22-6 on the season.

Key Moments

  • Houston was first to score in game two as the Cougars as they began the ballgame with back-to-back single and a double later in the first would drive in a run, putting them up 1-0.
  • Shannon Doherty hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the third to give the Knights the 2-1 lead.
  • Georgia Blair added to the Knights lead with an RBI groundout in the fourth, extending their lead to 3-1.
  • Jazmine Esparza hit a two-run home run to put the Knights up 5-1 in the sixth.

UCF will play the Cougars again on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. before wrapping up the series on Sunday with a noon start time.
Stay tuned to UCF Softball on Facebook (/UCFSoftball), Twitter (@UCF_Softball) and Instagram (@UCF.Softball) for the latest on the UCF softball team.
Never miss any UCF Knights news from your favorite team by downloading the free UCF Knights app right to your iOS or Android phone! The app provides personalized information for men's and women's teams, scores, schedules, loyalty programs and even breaking news. Download the app here.