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Softball Sweeps Doubleheader against North Florida, 11-4 and 9-0

by Ryan Ladika
  • Game 1
  • Game 2
Box Score

ORLANDO – The UCF softball team swept both ends of its Tuesday evening doubleheader against the North Florida Ospreys, toppling the visitors by respective 11-4 and 9-0 final scores in games one and two at the UCF Softball Complex April 2.

Sophomore right-hander Katelyn Cochran starred once again in the circle for the Knights in the nightcap, spinning a run-rule-shortened five-inning one-hit shutout to record the first win of her collegiate career, and the Knights’ offensive corps backed the sophomore and the rest of her staff up throughout the evening with an aggregate 20 runs scored.

“I thought we hit the ball pretty decent in game one, but I still would have liked to see us play a little more solidly,” said head coach Cindy Ball-Malone. “They came out looking a lot better in game two. Solid start from Katelyn Cochran, and the bats came about in the first and the fifth innings. I love shutouts.”

Cochran dazzled in the circle throughout game two, yielding just three baserunners in her career-high five innings pitched. The Ospreys’ lone hit off the sophomore came in the top of the first inning, a two-out hot shot off the glove of third baseman Sierra Humphreys, after which Cochran calmly induced a flyout to right field to end the inning.

She notched her second strikeout of the evening to lead off a perfect second frame, added her third punchout in a 1-2-3 third, and whiffed her fourth Osprey of the evening in a spotless fourth inning.

“I felt confident in my stuff, hitting my spots,” Cochran said. “We’ve been working a lot on spin and spots, so just leaning back on that. And I know my teammates have my back, so that always feels good.”

Cochran demonstrated her resolve in what would prove to be the game’s final inning, working around a pair of fifth-inning walks to keep North Florida off the scoreboard and clinch her first collegiate complete game shutout.

Through her first seven appearances, including one start, Cochran has registered a sparkling 0.40 ERA (1 ER) in her first 17.2 innings of work this spring. The right-hander has fanned 14 in that span, including now-back-to-back outings with four punchouts, while yielding just eight total hits and three walks.

“I’ve been putting in a lot of work,” Cochran continued. “They’re really good offenses, so my mindset was just to trust my spin and fall back on my preparation. I’ve worked hard, I’m ready for this, and let’s go. Keeping it simple.”

UCF’s offense provided everything Cochran needed and then some, putting up a four-spot in the first inning before slamming the door shut on its sixth run-rule victory this season with five more in the fifth inning.

Jada Cody tripled home Johneisha Rowe, who led off the inning with a four-pitch walk, to break the ice and give the Black and Gold a 1-0 lead.

The three-bagger marked Cody’s second extra-base hit of the day after she slugged a two-run first-inning home run in game one, and pushed the fifth-year utility player to within one triple of a share of second-most in franchise history with UCF Hall-of-Famer Stephanie Best and Jania Shinhoster.

Sarah Willis followed with an immediate RBI single, and the Knights plated two more runs in the frame via a wild pitch and a Sierra Humphreys run-scoring single.

“Jada’s just an awesome athlete,” Ball-Malone said of Cody. “Her abilities to make in-game and mid-at-bat adjustments and play her best in the biggest moments of the game are what’s really special about Jada. She puts the time and effort into it, and I’m really proud of what she’s done and accomplished here.”

Pinch-hitter Sona Halajian added an exclamation point on the evening in the bottom of the fifth frame following a bases-loaded walk by Humphreys that pushed across the Knights’ fifth tally of the contest.

Ahead in the count 2-1, Halajian smoked the fourth pitch of her at-bat over the left field fence, ending the game via the run-rule with her first collegiate grand slam, as well as the Knights’ first grand slam of the season.

“I just went in very calm, I wasn’t thinking too much about the situation,” Halajian said. “We had a plan, and I just went up there and wanted to follow the plan. It worked out, which was a good testament to our coaching staff and how much work they put in.”

The nine-run win came on the heels of UCF’s 11-run outburst in game one, a contest that featured multi-hit games by Cody, Johneisha Rowe, Chloe Evans, Ashleigh Griffin and Samantha Rey.

UCF recorded a seven-run inning for the second time in its past three games in the twin-bill opener, scoring seven times in the bottom of the third inning on the strength of a Willis RBI single, an Evans run-scoring single, a two-run Griffin double to left-center field, a Stormy Kotzelnick RBI single, and the first triple of Rey’s collegiate career that drove in two more.

The seven spot build upon Cody’s two-run blast in the bottom of the first, and UCF later scored two more insurance tallies in the sixth inning with Savannah Adams’ pinch-hit RBI single and Evans’ first triple of the season.

Willis also provided steady relief in the circle in the opener, spinning five innings of two-run ball accompanied by a pair of strikeouts.


The Knights continue their six-game homestand with a three-game home Big 12 Conference series against the visiting BYU Cougars April 4-6. Thursday evening’s opener is slated for a 6 p.m. first pitch time, and all three games will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.


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