Softball Set For AAC Championship

Tournament Central Live Stats Watch Live Notes

UCF vs Wichita State
Saturday, May 15 | 2:00 PM ET
Live Stats | Watch (ESPN2)

ORLANDO – The UCF softball team will play for its second ever American Athletic Conference tournament title on Saturday, May 15 as No. 3 seed UCF (39-16-1) will take on No. 1 Wichita State (38-11-1) for the conference trophy.

The two sides are set to square off at 2:00 p.m. ET at Collins Family Softball Complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPN2.
First Round - Thursday, May 13
UCF 4, ECU, 3
USF 10, Memphis 2 (6 innings)
Tulsa 8, Houston 2

Semifinals - Friday, May 14
UCF 3, USF 2
Wichita State 9, Tulsa 4
Championship Game - Saturday, May 15
UCF vs. Wichita State – 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT (ESPN2)

The AAC championship game will mark the first in program history for Wichita State, who were the regular season conference champions in 2021, also for the first time in program history, after posting an 18-5-1 record against conference opponents.

The Shockers, who checked in at No. 25 in the latest NFCA/USA Today Top 25 Coaches' Poll and received a first round bye in the tournament, defeated Tulsa, 9-4 on Friday to secure their spot in the championship game.
The Knights faced Wichita State four times at the UCF Softball Complex from April 16-18. The Knights dropped three and tied once.

In the Shockers' semifinal game with Tulsa on Friday, Bailey Lange (20-6) won her 20th game of the season in 5.0 innings of work. She allowed three earned runs on four hits, while striking out four. Erin McDonald walked four in an inning of relief and Caitlin Bingham closed it down in the final inning, retiring all three batters she faced.

AAC Rookie of the Year Addison Barnard was a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs scored and Sydney McKinney added a pair of singles in four at bats. The Shockers outscored the Golden Hurricane, 9-4, to end their tournament run on their own home field.

All-time, UCF is 1-9-1 against Wichita State.

The Knights' will make their third appearance in an AAC championship game. Their last time out came in 2015, when UCF took down Tulsa, 1-0 to secure their first ever AAC tournament title. It was also the first time UCF earned both the regular season and the tournament title in the same season.  In 2014, UCF lost 3-2 to Louisville in the league championship. In total, the Knights have won three conference tournament titles in program history. In 2005, as a part of the ASUN conference, the Knights beat Troy, 3-1 to secure their first conference title. Three years later in 2008, the Knights did it again, this time capturing the C-USA title following a 4-2 win over Houston. The Knights' last conference championship win came in the aforementioned 2015 season. Since then and before 2021, 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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