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Softball Drops Finale Against No. 2 Texas, 3-1

by Ryan Ladika

ORLANDO – The UCF softball team produced a third straight strong performance in the circle, but the key hit at the plate eluded the squad in its 3-1 loss to the No. 2 Texas Longhorns at the UCF Softball Complex Sunday afternoon.

The tandem of Sona Halajian, Katelyn Cochran and Grace Jewell combined to hold the second-ranked Longhorns to just three runs, with Cochran and Jewell yielding five hits in five scoreless innings of work. The trio did not issue a free pass in the contest.

The staff’s Sunday effort punctuated an encouraging weekend for UCF in the circle overall. The combination of Halajian, Cochran, Jewell, Ava Justman, Kaitlyn Felton, Angelina DeVoe and Sarah Willis surrendered just 12 runs in three games to a Longhorns offense that scored close to nine runs per game entering the weekend’s action and totaled 40 scores in its previous four games, including three run-rule victories.

The Knights staff also held Texas in the ballpark throughout the weekend, yielding just one home run in three games to a Longhorns offense that ranked ninth in the nation with 1.50 home runs per game entering the series.

“The pitching staff did an amazing job against a very good-hitting team,” said head coach Cindy Ball-Malone. “Their pitchers were good, and we have the information to learn, grow from and continue to get better. We haven’t played to our best abilities yet, and we all believe that we will get there.”

After falling behind by a trio of runs, the Knights answered back with a score in the bottom of the fifth inning, when utility player Jada Cody drew a walk with the bases loaded, trimming Texas’ lead to 3-1.

First baseman Shannon Doherty drew a four-pitch walk with one out, Sierra Humphreys battled through a 12-pitch at-bat before singling through the right side, and Samantha Rey reached on a well-placed infield single to set the table for Cody’s RBI walk.

“To see how we kept the scores like we did against that type of a team with any one of our pitchers in there, shows we have the stuff to go deep into season," Ball-Malone continued. "We just have to get the rest of our game going.”


UCF will look for a strong beginning to its next series on the road against the Texas Tech Red Raiders March 28-30. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. from Rocky Johnson Field in Lubbock, Texas Thursday evening.


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