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Softball Clinches Series with 9-4 Win over BYU in Game 2

by Ryan Ladika

ORLANDO – The youth movement paved the way for the UCF softball team’s series-clinching 9-4 win over the BYU Cougars Friday evening, and the veterans provided steady support behind them.

Freshman infielder Sierra Humphreys provided the early offensive punch with a bases-clearing double to lead a five-run bottom of the third inning, sophomore right-hander Katelyn Cochran produced another strong showing in relief, and Jada Cody tied the UCF all-time career doubles record in the Black and Gold’s fourth straight win, an effort that also clinched their second straight Big 12 Conference series win and third of the season.

“(BYU) came out swinging just like I thought they would, they’re a tough team,” said head coach Cindy Ball-Malone. “I really liked our response offensively. I still think that we need to clean some things up on the defensive side and the pitching side, but we’re doing well enough to win, especially when the bats are helping us out.”

UCF snatched the early offensive momentum with a run in the bottom of the first inning on a BYU fielding error, and after the Cougars scratched across the tying run in the top of the third, the Knights broke the game open in the home half.

Jasmine Williams ignited the five-run rally with a leadoff single and a stolen base and Shannon Doherty singled her shortstop over to third base with one out to set the table for Cody.

As called by Ball-Malone, Cody dropped down a well-executed squeeze bunt up the first base line, allowing Williams to score behind her and give UCF its one-run lead back.

“I just felt that it was going to be big to help us get going,” Ball-Malone said of the play. “I sensed they were going to go offspeed with her, and I figured that she could control the barrel because it’s an offspeed pitch. It worked out, and I thought it fit in well with what Jada could do. The bonus was that she was safe on the play as well.”

Aubrey Evans followed a Chloe Evans walk with a single through the left side of the infield to plate UCF’s third run, and Humphreys notched the big hit with a double to the left-center field gap to clear the bases and spot the Black and Gold a five-run lead.

UCF finished its offensive damage in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three more times courtesy of a Cody double down the left field line and a Chloe Evans run-scoring groundout.

Cody’s double also represented the 50th of her career, pushing the fifth-year utility player into a tie with Jania Shinhoster for the most in a career in program history.

“It means a lot, without my whole coaching staff and support, I wouldn’t be where I am, it’s all glory to God,” Cody said of tying the program record. “I was just trying to get more insurance runs for our pitchers. The more runs we have, the better they are in the circle and they get more confident. That was my goal, and it’s great to be in that running for doubles.”

The Knights’ latest prolific offensive evening buoyed the appearances by Cochran and Kaitlyn Felton in the circle throughout the evening. Felton produced a strong showing to start the evening against the Cougars’ high-powered offense, yielding a trio of runs in 4.1 innings of work with a pair of strikeouts to earn her team-leading seventh win of the season.

Cochran picked up her teammate in relief in the top of the fifth inning, quieting a Cougars rally with a groundout to shortstop and the first of her three strikeouts on the evening.

The sophomore stranded a pair BYU runners in the top of the sixth, with aid from her second punchout, and limited the Cougars’ seventh-inning comeback attempt to just one run to nail down her second collegiate save.

“Our queens have been awesome for us, and they’ve been awesome for us all year,” Doherty said of her pitching staff. “They’ve really been the rock of our team, they’ve been going out there fearless and competitively. Kaitlyn and Katelyn, they killed it today. They came out with a chip on their shoulder, and they were throwing their stuff. It looked good, and they did a great job.”

The Knights in the winning effort notched at least nine hits for the second straight game and the fifth time in their last seven games, led by two-hit showings by Doherty and Cody. The former recorded her second multi-hit night in as many games, and the latter brings a .458 average (11-for-24) spanning her previous seven games into the series finale on the strength of her third multi-hit game in her last four contests.

Humphreys also registered the sixth multi-RBI game of her young career, and the third with at least three RBI.


The Knights go for their first series sweep of Big 12 Conference play in the series finale Saturday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. from the UCF Softball Complex, and will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.


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