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Humphreys Homers, Drives in Five as Softball Run-Rules Princeton, 11-3

by Ryan Ladika

ORLANDO – “I just go all out.”

An apt description of Knights freshman Sierra Humphreys’ game given by the infielder herself following the UCF softball team’s 11-3 victory over Princeton at the UCF Softball Complex Saturday afternoon. Humphreys enjoyed one of her best all-around displays thus far in leading her squad to its second run-rule victory in its last three games.

On the heels of a 53-minute rain delay in the bottom of the first inning that forced UCF (10-7) to wait just a bit longer than expected to take its first hacks at the plate, Humphreys put her team on her back in aiding the Knights, donning their SpaceU Canaveral blue ‘Nauts uniforms, to their first come-from-behind win when trailing by three or more runs this spring.

The Corona, California, native strode to the plate with Jada Cody on second base following the latter’s leadoff single, and despite falling behind in the count, hooked an 0-2 offering just inside the left field foul pole for her first collegiate home run. The two-run shot represented the first of many dents in Princeton’s (5-3) early 3-0 first-inning advantage.

“I was just following coach Becca (Mueller)’s plan, she always comes to us with a plan for the pitcher and I was going off her,” Humphreys said. “Jada did a good job getting on base and passing the bat to me, trusting me to do my job. I was just trying to move her, and somehow it went over the fence.”

The freshman infielder wasn’t finished, coming through again in the home half of the second with a bases-clearing triple down the right field line that plated Aubrey Evans, Johneisha Rowe and Shannon Doherty to give UCF its first lead of the game, 5-3.

With her standout offensive efforts, Humphreys recorded the first multi-extra-base hit game of her young career as well as her first triple, notching a season-high five RBI and seven total bases, accompanied by a pair of stolen bags on the basepaths, as the catalyst for the Knights offense.

“She’s dynamic, she can be loud, she can be the quiet thunder at times, and she can do a lot of things,” said head coach Cindy Ball-Malone of Humphreys. “She can run, she can hit, she can throw, she can field; the best is yet to come for her.”

Not unlike the Knights’ Friday run-rule victory over the Tigers, UCF again enjoyed a six-run inning that proved vital in ending the contest after five innings. Cody drove in the Knights’ sixth score with her 10th career triple, breaking a tie with Denali Schappacher and moving into a tie with Natalie Land for fourth on the UCF all-time list, while also surpassing Schappacher on the all-time hits list with the 228th of her career, good for fifth-most in program history.

After the veteran utility player scored on a wild pitch, Humphreys and Chloe Evans executed a double steal, the former swiping home plate to score the Citronauts’ eighth run before Stormy Kotzelnick tacked on two more with a double to right field. Shannon Doherty put the finishing touches on UCF’s prolific offensive outing with an RBI single to center field that gave the ‘Nauts their 11th unanswered run.

“We’re just competing, we love competing against each other, and Jada and ‘CC’ are two of our biggest, toughest competitors, and they both play the same position,” Ball-Malone said. “They’re competing to get in the lineup, and they know that if they’re fierce offensive player, we’ll find a place for them.”

After yielding a trio of runs in the top of the first inning, right-hander Sarah Willis took the circle over an hour later following the delay with new life in the second frame. She recorded her third punchout in a 1-2-3 inning before also retiring the side in order in the third, and allowed just one more hit in the fourth before fellow senior right-hander Grace Jewell tossed a clean fifth to finish off UCF's 10th win of the spring.

“She’s been pitching well enough to win these last couple of starts,” Ball-Malone said of Willis. “I wanted her to know we have faith in her, we believe in her, and I think the best way to do that is to hand her the ball again. Not ideal how we started, but she settled in and figured some things out and got the job done at the end for us.”


UCF concludes play in the Knights Classic with a pair of Sunday morning and afternoon contests against Kennesaw State and Bethune-Cookman. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, and both games will be available for live streaming on ESPN+.


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