Website Photo TemplateWebsite Photo Template

Softball Edged by UConn, 3-2

by Ryan Ladika

ORLANDO – Senior southpaw Angelina DeVoe displayed another dominant appearance in relief and transfer utility player Stormy Kotzelnick slugged her first Knights home run, but the UCF softball team was edged by the visiting UConn Huskies, 3-2, in the teams’ Saturday evening tilt at the UCF Softball Complex.

“We definitely could be better. The times we had some possible momentum changes, you have a center fielder making multiple top 10 plays,” said head coach Cindy Ball-Malone. “We had the right people up at the right time, it just didn’t go our way. It’s one game, we wear it for 30 minutes and we’re on to the next game.”

For the second time in the Knights’ last three games, DeVoe was called upon by the Knights’ sixth-year head coach in a tough spot, and for the second time, DeVoe more than delivered.

With UCF trailing 3-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Ball-Malone made a move in favor of DeVoe in relief of starter Grace Jewell, making her second appearance and first start of the new campaign. The lefty quickly quieted the Huskies’ early offense, retiring the side in order on a pair of groundouts and a strikeout.

“Dynamite,” Ball-Malone said of DeVoe. “What a performance from Angelina. The opportunity is becoming more and more because we learned who she is last year. She’s definitely going in not doubting herself and realizing who she is. Angelina has awesome movement, and what she can do and how she was spotting out there, the girl was dancing. She’s rolling with it and going with no fear.”

DeVoe proceeded to throw three more perfect frames, finishing with a scoreless four-inning appearance for the second time in the Knights’ weekend tournament. The Carson, California, native has now recorded back-to-back four-inning outings for the first time in her career and has authored eight hitless frames with six punchouts to begin her 2024 slate.

“A lot of changeups. Coming into the game I knew I was going to have to beat them going down in the zone,” DeVoe said of her performance. “Drop balls and mixing speeds and spinning the ball to catch them off guard. I was trying to produce outs and stay offspeed.”

Kotzelnick provided an early spark for the Knights’ offense, launching her first UCF home run and the 17th of her career in the bottom of the second inning, a long shot that cleared the center field batter’s eye.

Though the Knights’ offense was stymied by Huskies starter Hallie Siems for much of the contest, center fielder Johneisha Rowe brought a crowd of 856 at the complex to its feet in the bottom of the seventh inning. She dropped down a perfect bunt and, with her speed, forced a throwing error by the UConn catcher attempting to record the out at first base.

The throw sailed down the right field line, and Rowe raced around the bases to score the Knights’ second run, bringing UCF to within one.

“I just trusted myself to get the bunt down,” Rowe said. “I’ve been struggling to get that down all weekend, and I never gave up on it. I wanted to achieve that and be successful with it, so I went for it. I saw that ball get by, and I felt like I was running for my life. I was running to my team.”


The Knights will conclude the 2024 Black and Gold Classic with a Sunday matinee matchup against the Georgia State Panthers. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m. from the UCF Softball Complex and will be streamed on ESPN+.


Follow UCF Softball on X (@UCF_Softball), Instagram (@UCF.Softball) and Facebook (/UCFSoftball).


Never miss any UCF Knights news from your favorite teams by downloading the free UCF Knights app right to your iOS or Android devices. The app provides personalized information for men’s and women’s teams, scores, schedules, loyalty programs and breaking news. Click here to download the app now.