Knights Welcome Wichita State to Town for Top 25 Showdown

Stats Watch Tickets Notes

#23 UCF vs #25 Wichita State
Friday, April 16 | 6:00 PM
Live Stats | Watch

#23 UCF vs #25 Wichita State
Saturday, April 17 | 2:00 PM
Live Stats | Watch

#23 UCF vs #25 Wichita State
Saturday, April 17 | 4:30 PM
Live Stats | Watch

#23 UCF vs #25 Wichita State
Sunday, April 18 | 11:00 AM
Live Stats | Watch

ORLANDO – Fresh off a season sweep of No. 5 Florida, the No. 23 Knights are set to keep that momentum rolling into the weekend as the Knights are set to do battle with No. 25 Wichita State at the UCF Softball Complex from April 16-18.

The two sides will open the series with a Friday night showdown at 6:00 p.m., square off again in a doubleheader on Saturday with games at 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., and wrap things up with a Sunday afternoon game set for 11:00 a.m.

The series will mark the first top 25 matchup between Wichita State and UCF as well as the first top 25 matchup in all of AAC Softball history.
All four games will be streamed live on ESPN+.

Wichita State comes into the weekend series ranked No. 25 in the latest USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll for the first time in program history. The Shockers also sit at No. 20 in the D1 Softball Top 25 and are receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Top 25.

Wichita State is coming off its second straight series sweep after taking all four games vs. Houston last weekend. The Shockers won by scores of 13-5, 8-3, 11-2 and 10-7. Wichita State belted 12 home runs in the series. The Shockers also hit three grand slams over the series, including two in game one. Four Shockers hit .500 or better over the four-game series, led by Neleigh Herring at .778. Wichita State then defeated Kansas City in midweek action, 4-3, Tuesday night to extend its win streak to 10 in a row. The Shockers hit three home runs, none bigger than Ryleigh Buck's go-ahead bomb in the bottom of the 6th.

The Shockers are 29-5, 11-1 on the season. All-time, UCF is 1-6 against Wichita State, with their last matchup coming on May 9, 2019, where the Knights' lost 2-1 in their first game of the AAC championship tournament.

The Knights bested No. 5 Florida in a 7-0 victory on Wednesday in Gainesville. Breanna Vasquez tossed a gem in the circle, allowing just three hits in a complete-game shutout. The Norwalk, Calif., native struck out a season-best eight batters in seven innings. Offensively, the Knights did their damage early. UCF scored four runs in the first inning, added a fifth run in the second and tacked on a pair in the third. The Black and Gold posted their second-straight 10-hit contest. The UCF defense also came up big, keeping the Gators off the scoreboard for the first time this season. Wednesday's victory gave UCF a season sweep of Florida for the first time in program history, and the Knights picked up their first win in Gainesville since May 18, 2008. It was the first regular season road victory over the Gators in program history. The 7-0 score marked UCF's largest margin of victory in the series against the Gators. UCF's seven runs are the second-most for the Knights in the series history. The Black and Gold's eight runs in the March 24 win in Orlando is the most scored by UCF against Florida. UCF scored 15 runs on the Gators in the two-game series. Florida has allowed just 19 runs in 12 SEC contests this season. UCF's 10-hit performance is the most hits allowed by the Florida pitching staff this season.

The Knights have already had two Knights earn national Player of the Week award for their efforts on the diamond. On March 30, Jada Cody was named the D1 Softball national Player of the Week. Cody was scorching hot over the week for UCF as she finished the week batting .438 with two home runs, two doubles, four RBI and five runs scored in five games (one against No. 5 Florida and four against Houston). Cody hit a walk-off solo home run against Houston to give UCF the 2-1 win and she was an integral part in the Knights' toppling of No. 5 Florida. Against the Gators, Cody was 2-for-4 with a double, including one in the bottom of the seventh that scored a runner from first and tied the game before she came around to score the winning run.

Meanwhile, 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.

UCF is still holding relatively steady in several national polls. The USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Coaches' Poll was released on Tuesday and the Knights were at No. 23. The Knights are no longer the sole AAC team to make an appearance in the top 25 as Wichita State, who the Knights are set to play over the week, is now at No. 25. The Knights were also ranked No. 23 in the JWOS Top 25 Poll, No. 23 in the D1 Softball poll and No. 25 in the USA Softball/ESPN rankings.

The Knights' have three wins over top-five ranked teams in the country to this point in the season with wins over No. 5 Florida (twice - March 24, 8-6 and April 14, 7-0) and No. 2 Arizona (March 8, 2-0). UCF has played seven games 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, No. 5 Florida and No. 24 South Carolina (L, 9-1, L, 4-2, W, 10-4). UCF's matchup with the Gators on Wednesday marked just the third 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.

Heading into the week, the Knights are first in The American and 16th in the nation in doubles (53) and first in the conference and 17th in the nation shutouts (10). UCF first baseman Jazmine Esparza is ninth in the country and leads the conference with 13 doubles herself. In the circle, Alea White's 15 victories have her tied for seventh in the country and first in the league in that regard.

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 on Feb. 21, 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. 

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.
Before UCF's win over Florida earlier this year, the Knights last beat the Gators on April 4, 2018.