ORLANDO – A day after posting a record 21 runs through their first two games of the season, the No. 21 ranked Knights split their second double header with FGCU on Sunday to move to 3-1 on the young season.
“[FGCU’s] strike zone and plate discipline were a lot better today. They were laying off some of our better pitches,” said head coach Cindy Ball-Malone. “I think FGCU is a great team with great coaches and they made an adjustment on us. We did have some great swings and hard-hit balls right at people, it just didn’t fall our way early on. I love that we were put in that position early on to help us gain experience and I liked our response in game two.”
Game One – UCF 2 // FGCU 3
After posting 21 combined runs in Saturday’s double header, the UCF offense sputtered in game one on Sunday, posting just two runs in their 3-2 loss to FGCU.
The Knights took the early lead in the first as Kennedy Searcy came around to score on an FGCU error. In the top of the third, UCF padded its lead courtesy of a Georgia Blair solo shot. The long ball marked Blair’s third of the 2021 season already, the most any UCF player has hit through their first three games of the season, that is until teammate Juliana Wilson matched that in game two.
The Knights would hold the lead until the sixth as UCF starting pitcher Breanna Vasquez (0-1) was solid for most of the game, allowing no runs on just two hits and striking out six through five innings. Unfortunately, Vasquez couldn’t finish as FGCU started the sixth inning with a walk and a single before the next batter, Eagles’ starting pitcher Taylor Bauman, helped her own cause with a three-run shot to give FGCU the lead. UCF would not recover, going on to lose 3-2.
- For the third game in a row, UCF freshman left fielder Kennedy Searcy led off the game with a single and a stolen base, coming around to score later in the first inning on an FGCU fielding error that could have ended the inning, but instead gave the Knights the 1-0 lead.
- Shortstop Georgia Blair continued her hot start to the season in the top of the third, hitting a home run off the right field foul pole to extend the Knights’ lead to 2-0.
- FGCU was able to get its first two batters of the sixth inning to reach a base, and a three-run home run off the bat of starting pitcher Taylor Bauman gave the Eagles the 3-2 lead.
Game Two – UCF 8 // FGCU 5
The Knights and Eagles battled back and forth for the early part of game two before the Knights began to pull away late, eventually going on to win 8-5.
The UCF offense woke up in a big way in game two as seven different Knights chimed in with at least one hit. Senior Denali Schappacher had a nice game at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Up 4-3 in the sixth inning, a three-run home run from Kennedy Searcy and a solo shot from Juliana Wilson padded the Knights’ lead. The home run from Wilson was her third of the year, making her and Georgia Blair the quickest to three home runs in UCF Softball history.
On the mound, Alea White (2-0) was credited with the win despite allowing five earned runs on seven hits and two walks. With the win, White now has 79 career victories. She needs just one more to tie the UCF Softball record for most career wins (80) and two more to claim sole possession of first place (81).
Gianna Mancha came in for relief and tossed a clean seventh to earn her first save of the season and secure the 8-5 win for UCF.
- The Eagles got a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the first and an RBI single brought her in to score to put FGCU up 1-0 early
- Jada Cody singled in a run for the Knights in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 1-1.
- FGCU took back the lead in the bottom half of the inning courtesy of a fielder’s choice to go up 2-1.
- The Knights again tied it up in the fifth after Kennedy Searcy doubled down the left field line to score Jazmine Esparza
- Searcy came around to score two batters later on a Georgia Blair RBI single, giving the Knights the 3-2 lead
- A solo shot off the bat of FGCU’s Marissa Mesiemore cut the Eagles’ deficit to 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth
- UCF freshman Kennedy Searcy hit a three-run home run in the top of the sixth, the first of her career, to extend the Knights’ lead to 7-3.
- Juliana Wilson followed with a solo shot to put UCF up 8-3.
- A two-run blast from FGCU’s Jordyn Gendron in the sixth cut UCF’s lead to 8-5.