Knights Set for Road Series With ECU

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Friday, April 9 | 2:00 PM
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Friday, April 9 | 4:30 PM
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Saturday, April 10 | 2:00 PM
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Sunday, April 11 | 12:00 PM
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ORLANDO – The No. 24 ranked UCF softball team will be back in action this weekend as the Knights hit the road for Greenville, North Carolina for a four-game conference series with ECU from April 9-11.
The Knights opened conference play against Houston at home on March 26 and swept the Cougars in four games to open league play undefeated for the first time since 2019. UCF could not maintain the perfect conference record last weekend as the Knights dropped three of four to Tulsa at their place.

UCF is off to a solid 25-9 start to the season, including two wins over top five teams in No. 5 Florida (March 24, 8-6) and No. 2 Arizona (March 8, 2-0).
The Knights will open their series against ECU with a Friday doubleheader, with games slated for 2:00 p.m. and at 4:30 p.m. The two sides will do battle again on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. before concluding the series with a noon first pitch on Sunday.
The Friday doubleheader will be steamed live on ESPN+ while the Saturday and Sunday games will be featured on ECUPirates.com.

ECU is off to a 10-17 start to the season and a 1-3 start in conference play as the Pirates most recently began their league slate March 26-28 at Wichita State. The Shockers won three of four games with the Pirates grabbing their lone victory of the series by an 8-4 count in game two of a Saturday doubleheader.
Rachel McCollum is hitting a team-best .364 while Olivia Narron is close behind with a .341 batting average, a squad-high 30 hits, two triples and 11 stolen bases. As a unit, East Carolina is hitting .274 with 22 doubles, two triples, 23 home runs and 24 stolen bases. The Pirates rank third in The American in slugging percentage (.414), on base percentage (.370), hits (187), RBI (101) and fielding percentage (.970).
According to the latest release of the NCAA RPI, ECU owns the 33rd-toughest schedule in the nation. The Pirates have played 11 road games against top-40 RPI clubs Georgia (19), Liberty (24), Wichita State (30) and James Madison (38). East Carolina's upcoming weekend opponent, UCF, currently sports a No. 37 ranking.

The Knights are 23-19 all-time against ECU with UCF winning the last six straight dating back to 2017.

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. 24. 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, although Wichita State and Tulsa are receiving votes. The Knights were also ranked No. 23 in the JWOS Top 25 Poll, No. 23 in the D1 Softball poll and RV in the USA Softball/ESPN rankings.

The Knights' have taken down two top-five ranked teams in the country to this point in the season in No. 5 Florida (March 24, 8-6) and No. 2 Arizona (March 8, 2-0). UCF has played six 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 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.

The Knights are leading the American Athletic Conference in batting average (.328) and doubles (47) and are near the top of the national rankings in several other areas as well. The Knights are top 50 in the nation in batting average, doubles, home runs per game (1.12), on base percentage (.398), shutouts (eight), slugging percentage (.516), stolen bases per game (1.71) and win-loss percentage (.735).

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.

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