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Softball Edged by Texas Tech, 5-4, in Series Finale

by Ryan Ladika

Lubbock, Texas – The UCF softball team mounted a comeback bid for the third straight game built upon a dazzling relief performance by sophomore right-hander Katelyn Cochran, but the key game-tying hit proved elusive in the Knights’ 5-4 loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Rocky Johnson Field Saturday afternoon.

In spite of the loss, the Knights clinched the series win, their second since the commencement of Big 12 Conference play, and nearly erased a 5-0 Texas Tech lead.

Cochran etched another chapter in what is becoming her breakout sophomore campaign in the series finale. The right-hander threw a career-high 4.2 scoreless innings without issuing a walk, while yielding just one hit and striking out four.

With the Knights trailing 5-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Cochran was called upon by head coach Cindy Ball-Malone for her second relief appearance of the series. She previously nailed down the final two outs of UCF’s series-opening 8-5 win Thursday evening, recording her first collegiate save.

Cochran picked up right where she left off Thursday, promptly shutting down the Red Raiders’ offense with a pair of strikeouts to limit the damage to five runs in the frame.

She then spun a perfect third inning, including her third punchout, stranded a one-out single in the fourth while adding her fourth strikeout, and erased a hit batter with a 4-6-3 double play in the fifth inning.

The right-hander completed her effort with a perfect sixth inning, inducing a trio of flyouts to punctuate the strongest appearance of her young career. She also lowered her season ERA to a sparkling 0.55 (1 ER) in her first 12.2 innings of work this spring, totaling 10 strikeouts against just one walk.

Cochran’s effort paved way for the Knights offense to work its way back into the contest, beginning with a fourth-inning Shannon Doherty RBI single that plated Katie Burge, who reached base via a double to right-center field.

UCF’s offense notched a run in each of the next three innings as well, narrowing the Red Raiders’ lead to just a single score in the top of the seventh. Center fielder Johneisha Rowe led off the top of the fifth with a bunt attempt that turned into a three-base error, and scored moments later with Jada Cody’s sacrifice fly to left field.

Doherty came through again in the sixth, plating pinch-runner Samantha Delhoyo with another RBI single, and in the seventh, Cody led off with a walk and later scored on an RBI groundout by Chloe Evans.

In the loss, Doherty recorded her fourth multi-hit game of the spring, accompanied by her fifth multi-RBI display. The two-hit showing put a wrap on a strong overall series for the Knights first baseman as well, having gone 4-for-6 with two runs scored, three RBI and one stolen base.


The Knights have a quick turnaround before jumping back into action, when the squad will welcome the North Florida Ospreys to Orlando for a Tuesday afternoon doubleheader. Game one against the Ospreys is slated for 4 p.m., and game two will start shortly after the conclusion of game one. Both games will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.


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