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Willis, DeVoe Impress as Softball's Season Ends with Losses to No. 12 FSU, Auburn

by Ryan Ladika
  • Game 1
  • Game 2
Box Score

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The UCF softball team enjoyed a pair of dominant pitching performances from Sarah Willis and Angelina DeVoe as an encore to Friday’s come-from-behind victory, but the squad saw its 2024 spring season come to a close with a pair of defeats to the No. 12 Florida State Seminoles, 5-1, and Auburn Tigers, 2-1, at JoAnne Graf Field Saturday.

The final day of the Knights’ campaign was highlighted by a dazzling performance by Willis, who kept her team in a late-night 12-inning pitchers’ duel with Auburn’s Maddie Penta.

The four-hour, 28-minute marathon represented the longest NCAA Tournament contest in program history by innings, as well as UCF’s longest overall game by innings since the 2019 Knights dropped a 2-0 game to South Florida in 13 frames in Orlando April 12.

Willis, in her final collegiate start, threw all 12 innings, marking a single-game career high while yielding just two runs in UCF’s one-run loss. With her 12th inning of the evening, she topped Kama Woodall’s 11 frames against then-No. 24 Michigan during the 2022 NCAA Orlando Regional for the NCAA Tournament single-game program record.

She danced in and out of danger throughout the night, yielding her lone two tallies in the fifth and 12th innings while holding the Tigers scoreless in her remaining 10 frames. She struck out seven throughout the night, marking her fourth occasion of the spring with at least seven strikeouts.

The All-Big 12 First Team honoree finishes her Knights career with a 1.98 ERA and a .198 batting average-against in 289.2 total innings pitched, with both marks ranking as the sixth-lowest career marks in program history.

Her 239 total strikeouts as a Knight also rank ninth-most on the all-time list, and with her 21st complete game pulled into a tie for 10th on the all-time list. She claimed sole possession of ninth place on the program’s all-time innings pitched list as well.

Willis’ effort followed a dominant relief appearance by senior southpaw Angelina DeVoe in UCF’s tilt against the Seminoles to open the day’s action. Called upon in the top of the second inning after Florida State struck for five runs, DeVoe embarked on arguably the strongest appearance of her four-year Knights career.

The left-hander induced a groundout to calm the storm in the second, worked around a one-out walk in the third, and spun a scoreless fourth inning while stranding a two-out single.

DeVoe notched her first two strikeouts of the afternoon in a perfect fifth inning, stranded two walks in the sixth, and fanned her third Seminole in a 1-2-3 seventh frame.

Like Willis after her, DeVoe’s 5.1 innings of work represented a single-game career high, topping her five-inning effort against the then-No. 16 Duke in Clearwater Feb. 18, 2023. Her outing represented her third of the season with at least four innings pitched and one or fewer hits allowed, and the fourth such appearance of her career.

“This is a tough one because there are some who have been here for most of my time at UCF,” said head coach Cindy Ball-Malone following UCF’s loss to Auburn. “To think that it’s our last game together is tough, but the world got to see Sarah Willis fight for us the entire game, and we battled against one of the best pitchers I’ve seen in a long time.”


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