Softball Set for Conference Tournament

Tournament Central Watch Live Stats Notes

Thursday, May 13 | 12:00 PM ET
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ORLANDO – The Knights will begin their hunt for their second American Athletic Conference Softball Championship on Thursday as No. 3 seed UCF is set to do battle with No. 6 seed ECU at 12:00 p.m. ET at the Collins Family Softball Complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Should the Knights advance, they will square off against the winner of No. 2 South Florida and No. 7 Memphis in the first semifinal game, set for 4 p.m. (ET) on Friday, May 14. The Championship game is scheduled for May 15 at 2 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2.

Thursday's game between the Knights and the Pirates will be streamed live on ESPN+.

Of the first five American Softball Championships that were played to completion, the tournament's top seed has won the event on two occasions. UCF captured the title from the top spot in the 2015 tournament at the UCF Softball Complex and Tulsa held court at the top in 2017 at the ECU Softball Stadium.
First Round - Thursday, May 13
No. 3 UCF vs. No. 6 East Carolina – 12 p.m. ET/11 a.m. CT (ESPN+)
No. 2 USF vs. No. 7 Memphis – 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. CT (ESPN+)
No. 4 Tulsa vs. No. 5 Houston – 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT (ESPN+)
Semifinals - Friday, May 14
Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner – 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT (ESPN+)
Game 3 winner vs. No. 1 Wichita State – 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT (ESPN+)
Championship Game - Saturday, May 15
Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner – 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT (ESPN2)

ECU finished the regular season with a 16-32 overall record but carries a five-game winning streak into the postseason event with a 1-0 road victory at tournament No. 2 seed South Florida and four-straight wins over Memphis in Greenville.
In its last appearance at the AAC Tournament in 2019, ECU knocked off three-time defending champion Tulsa 4-3 in eight innings at the Cougar Softball Stadium in Houston. The remainder of the championship event was rained out the league did not hold a 2020 championship due to COVID-19.
During its current five-game winning streak, ECU has received a number of solid performances out of its pitching staff. The Pirates sport a 0.39 ERA with 27 strikeouts against three walks in the last 36 innings pitched and have also limited opposing batters to a .157 average. Erin Poepping and Kama Woodall have given up just one earned run combined in the last 35.1 frames.

After sweeping the Pirates on the road in early April, the Knights are 27-19 all-time against ECU with UCF winning the last 10 straight dating back to 2017.

UCF won the AAC tournament in 2015 as the Knights took down Tulsa, 1-0, to earn both the regular season and the tournament title in the same season for the first time in school history. The win marked UCF's first conference title as a member of The American. Since then, the Knights have only won one conference tournament game. In 2016, UCF took down UConn, 3-2, in the first round of the tournament before falling to Tulsa, 4-0 in the semifinal game.
The conference announced its softball postseason awards on Wednesday and 10 Knights were recognized for their efforts on the diamond in 2021. Jada CodyJazmine Esparza, Denali Schapapcher and Alea White all took home First Team All-Conference honors, while Shannon DohertyKyra KlarkowskiGianna Mancha and Karissa Ornelas were named to the Second Team. Cody, Juliana Wilson and Kennedy Searcy received All-Rookie Team Laurels. UCF led all teams with eight total players chosen (four players on the first time) to the first and second all-conference teams with Wichita State just behind at seven selections and four first-team recipients.

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.

The Knights finished out the regular season in third place among all AAC competition, posting a 16-7-1 record in league play to finish two games back from first place. No. 24 Wichita State (18-5-1) won the conference title for the first time in program history while RV South Florida finished in second place (16-7).
Checking in at No. 32 in the latest NCAA RPI release, the Knights currently lead all AAC teams in batting average (.309), doubles (67) and shutouts (15). UCF senior Jazmine Esparza leads the league in doubles herself, accounting for 15, which is good for 20th in the nation. While not the league leaders in home runs, the Knights' 54 team home runs are the most in program history, and their .309 team batting average is on pace to be the highest in program history as well.

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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