Knights Cap Off Season with 2-0 Victory Over South Florida

ORLANDO – The Knights secured the series victory over South Florida following a 2-0 shutout over the Bulls Sunday afternoon at the UCF Softball Complex in Orlando, Fla. With the win, UCF finishes out the regular season with a 37-16-1 overall record and a 16-7-1 record in league play, securing the Knights the third seed in the AAC Championship Tournament.

The conference championship will take place from May 13-15 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Knights, who were the 2015 American tournament champions, also finished as the event runner-up in 2014. The Knights will collide with East Carolina, whom UCF swept in four games in Greenville on April 9-11, in the tournament's opening game on May 13 at 12 p.m. (ET) on ESPN+.

UCF won four separate league series during the regular season, including their final series over the Bulls to close out the 2021 conference campaign.

The Knights' two runs on Sunday came off one swing of the bat as center fielder and senior Kyra Klarkowski hit a two-run home run through the foul pole in the second inning to put UCF up 2-0. The home run was Klarkowksi's first of the season.

Two runs were all the support UCF starting pitcher and senior Alea White would need to get the job done in the circle. In her final career start at the UCF Softball Complex, the all-time great turned in a fitting performance, finishing the day with six strikeouts and allowing just three hits while holding the Bulls scoreless.

White was pulled with one out remaining in the ballgame for senior Gianna Mancha. White exited to a standing ovation and Mancha needed just two innings to record the final out. With the win, White moved to 19-6 on the year, and Mancha's save was her third of the season.

"I had the confidence to play anyone I wanted on the team today, one through twenty-seven," said head coach Cindy Ball-Malone. "I saw it in their eyes that they were ready to play, and I loved the fact that our defensive specialist [Klarkowski] hit the game-winning home run. What a way to describe the way we play our game."

Following Sunday's victory over the Bulls, the Knights celebrated their 11 seniors with an on-field ceremony. All but White, Klarkowski and Jazmine Esparza are eligible to return in 2022.

Key Moments

  • Kyra Klarkowski hit a two-run home run, her first of the season, in the bottom of the second to give the Knights an early 2-0 lead.
  • In the top of the fifth, three senior Knights combined to roll a 5-4-3 double play, nullifying a South Florida leadoff base hit.
  • With two outs in the seventh inning, UCF head coach Cindy Ball-Malone pulled Alea White one last time at the UCF Softball Complex. White walked off to a standing ovation.

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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