Softball Takes Down Auburn in NCAA Regional Opener

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A five-run second inning propelled the Knights to victory on Friday as UCF took down Auburn, 5-4, to open play in the NCAA Regional in Tallahassee, Florida.

With the win, UCF secures its spot in the winner's bracket. As such, the Knights will play Florida State on Saturday as the Seminoles also won their first game on Friday after taking down No. 4 seed Kennesaw State, 6-2. The Owls will play Auburn Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET. The loser of that game will be eliminated, while the winner will go on to play the loser of the game between UCF and the Seminoles at 5:30 p.m. ET.

"With that win, I think the team knows we can do this now. We are supposed to be here," said head coach Cindy Ball-Malone. "Even though they may have always known that, now they feel it for sure."

All the Knights' damage on Friday came in the second inning. Down 1-0 early to the Tigers, Shannon Doherty ripped a double into the left center field gap to drive in a pair and give the Black and Gold the lead. The runs kept pouring in from there as the Knights batted around the order, tallying six hits and a walk in the inning to take the 5-1 lead.
The Tigers answered back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the second, but Alea White came in for UCF with one out in the fourth inning to shut the door. White tossed 3.2 shutout innings, allowing just two hits and no runs to secure the win and move to 21-7 on the season.
Four Knights turned in multi-hit performances in the victory as Allyse Volpe, Denali Schappacher and Kaitlyn Jensen were all 2-for-4, while Karissa Ornelas was 2-for-2, adding two walks as well. In total, UCF notched 12 hits in the victory.
Friday, May 21
UCF 5, Auburn 4
Florida State 6, Kennesaw State 2
Saturday, May 22
UCF vs. Florida State – 12:00 p.m. ET (Broadcast TBD)
Auburn vs. Kennesaw State – 2:30 p.m. ET (Broadcast TBD)
Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 winner – 5:00 p.m. ET (Broadcast TBD)

Key Moments

  • Auburn leadoff hitter Alyssa Rivera started off the bottom of the first with a triple and came around to score on an RBI single, giving the Tigers the early 1-0 lead.
  • With two Knights on in the top of the second, Shannon Doherty ripped a double to left center field to drive in a pair and give UCF the 2-1 lead.
  • Two batters later, Justene Molina grounded out to drive in another run and extend the Knights' lead to 3-1.
  • Still in the second inning, Denali Schappacher singled to left to drive in another UCF run, putting them up 4-1.
  • The next batter, Jada Cody, knocked an RBI single to right center field to extend the Knights' lead to 5-1.
  • With two Tigers on in the bottom of the second, a UCF fielding error would allow them to score, cutting Auburn's deficit to 5-3.
  • The next batter, Sydney Cox, doubled to drive in another Auburn run and make it a 5-4 ballgame.
  • The Knights threatened with runners on second and third and nobody out to begin the fourth inning, but three straight outs extinguished the threat to keep the score locked at 5-4.
  • The Tigers threatened to tie the game with a runner on second and two away in the bottom of the sixth, but UCF pitcher Alea White got the strikeout to end the inning and get the Knights back into the dugout.
  • Auburn loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh down by a run, but a 1-2-3 double play would end the game and secure the 5-4 UCF win.


  • The Knights' five runs in the second inning ties the UCF record for most runs in one inning in the NCAA Tournament. In 2015, the Knights scored five runs in the fourth inning against South Carolina.
  • The win marked UCF head coach Cindy Ball-Malone's first as a head coach in the NCAA Tournament.
  • With the win, UCF moves to 40-17-1. This is the seventh time in program history that the Knights have had at least 40 wins in a season (2002, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2014, 2015 and 2021).
  • The win marked UCF Softball's first ever over Auburn.
  • With the win, Alea White is just the second Knight ever to win in her NCAA Tournament debut, joining Allison Kime (2008 vs South Florida in the NCAA Gainesville Regional).
  • With the win, White secured career victory No. 98.
  • It is fourth time in program history UCF has won first game of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the winner's bracket game (2008, 2010, 2015 and 2021).

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