Shane Bevel/American Athletic Conference

Knights to Take on South Florida in AAC Semifinal

Tournament Central Live Stats Watch Notes

ORLANDO – The UCF softball team is moving on to the American Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals, where No. 3 seed UCF (38-16-1) is set to do battle with No. 2 South Florida (29-16, 16-7) in an extension of the War on I-4.

The two sides are set to square off on Friday, May 14 at 4:00 p.m. ET at Collins Family Softball Complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPN+.

If the Knights take down the Bulls and advance, they will square off against the winner of No. 1 Wichita State and No. 4 Tulsa/No. 5 Houston in the championship game, set for 2 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, May 15. The championship game will be broadcasted live on ESPN2.
First Round - Thursday, May 13
No. 3 UCF – 4 vs. No. 6 East Carolina – 3
No. 2 USF – 10 vs. No. 7 Memphis – 2

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)

The Bulls have compiled a 29-16 overall record to this point in the season and finished conference play at 16-7 after dropping their final series to UCF to close out the season. The Knights prevented the Bulls from winning the conference regular season title as South Florida needed to win the series to claim win the conference, but UCF ended up taking three of four and the Bulls finished the season at second place in the AAC.

On Wednesday, the conference announced South Florida's Georgina Corrick as the Pitcher of the Year, marking the third consecutive season she has earned that honor, joining previous selections in 2018 and 2019. The Great Britain National Team member has been stellar for the Bulls this season, posting a 21-6 record with a 0.92 ERA. She's thrown three no-hitters in 2021, one against North Dakota and back-to-back efforts against ECU, becoming the first pitcher in the history of The American to throw no-hitters on back-to-back days.

Her ERA is ninth in the nation and ranks first in the conference, and she only allows 3.33 hits per seven innings, which is also ninth in the country and first in the AAC. Her 13 shutout efforts this season is tied for the Division I lead. She's thrown 282 strikeouts, which is third in the country and first in the conference.

On the offensive side of the ball, South Florida outfielder AnaMarie Bruni was named to the AAC All-Conference First Team while infielder Megan Pierro and outfielder Alexis Johns earned Second Team honors.

South Florida is batting .246 with 17 home runs as a team, compared to the Knights' .310 average and 54 long balls.

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.

In September 2016, UCF and South Florida announced their joint creation of a rivalry series to unite the communities and campuses in Tampa Bay and Orlando in an annual competition. Since then, the Knights have won the all-sports rivalry every year, and 2020-21 is no different. Heading into Friday's semifinal game with the Bulls, the Knights lead and have clinched the 2020-21 all-sports series, 53.25-24.75 (baseball and softball games count for 1.5 points this season as a result of four-game series). UCF Softball is 14-17 all-time against the Bulls after winning their most recent series to close out the season.

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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