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Softball Wins Ninth Straight, Sweeps Houston with 7-2 Sunday Win

by Ryan Ladika

Houston, Texas – On the strength of a pair of individual career milestones, the UCF softball team authored an emphatic exclamation point on its weekend dominance in Space City.

Sarah Willis and Shannon Doherty recorded the 200th strikeout and hit of their respective Knights careers, and UCF plated at least seven runs for the fourth straight game in their 7-2 victory against the Houston Cougars at Cougar Softball Stadium Sunday afternoon.

The winning effort clinched UCF’s second straight Big 12 Conference series sweep and extended the conference’s longest active win streak to nine straight games, as well as the Big 12’s longest active conference win streak to six in a row. The Black and Gold also clinched their 11th win in their last 12 games dating back to their series at Texas Tech March 28-30.

For the third straight game, UCF cracked the scoreboard first, plating a pair of runs in the top of the first inning by way of an Ashleigh Griffin two-run single. Just before Griffin’s run-scoring hit, Doherty followed a leadoff single by Johneisha Rowe with one of her own, earning the 200th hit of her UCF career.

With her 200th career hit, Doherty became the 12th player in program history to eclipse the 200-hit milestone in a Knights uniform, joining teammate Jada Cody who most recently joined the club during the 2023 American Athletic Conference Tournament.

Griffin’s timely hit, meanwhile, represented only the beginning of her strong day at the plate, as Griffin would later swat the second of UCF’s back-to-back home runs in the top of the fifth inning.

With her 2-for-3 contest and her third home run in as many games, the redshirt-sophomore paced UCF’s offensive efforts throughout the series, hitting an aggregate .667/.727/1.667 (6-for-9) with four runs scored, three home runs, seven RBI, 15 total bases and two walks.

Chloe Evans in the fifth inning slugged her fourth home run of the season just before Griffin’s solo shot, marking Evans’ first home run since her solo shot in the top of the fourth inning against then-No. 8 Missour during the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Cathedral City, California Feb. 23.

The Knights added on a trio of insurance runs to push their lead to 7-2 in the top of the sixth inning, by way of a Sierra Humphreys RBI single and an Evans two-run double to left field.

With Evans’ two-bagger, she recorded her second multi-extra-base hit game of the season, joining her contest against Missouri that also saw her swat a home run and a double, and her three-RBI showing marked her highest single-game total since she drove in four against Princeton March 1.

The Knights’ offensive exploits bolstered another strong start in the circle by Willis, her second of the weekend. With the first of her four strikeouts in the first inning, Willis recorded the 200th of her UCF career, becoming the ninth pitcher in program history to reach the 200-strikeout plateau.

The right-hander quickly bounced back from allowing a first-inning tally to the Cougars, inducing a trio of groundouts in a perfect second inning and a 1-4-3 double play that erased a leadoff walk in the third.

After Houston tied the game at two in the bottom of the fourth, Willis retired three of the last four she faced in the bottom of the fifth, leaving the circle with a 4-2 advantage.

Fellow senior right-hander Grace Jewell took over for Willis to start the bottom of the sixth inning, making her first appearance of the series. Jewell worked around a pair of singles in the inning before icing UCF’s 25th win with a scoreless seventh inning.


UCF will look to clinch its 10th straight win in its next midweek tilt against the visiting Florida Atlantic Owls Wednesday, April 17. First pitch is slated for 5 p.m. from the UCF Softball Complex and will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.


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