The busiest spring in UCF Knights history is in full swing. We will keep you in the know with recaps every Monday of all sports. Plus, we name a Star Athlete of the Week.
Here’s your Knight Cap for Monday, February 22:
Softball: Alea White breaks UCF career wins record as Knights sweep New Mexico State
UCF Knights ace Alea White picked up two wins this weekend, surpassing Shelby Turnier’s program record for most wins by a UCF pitcher. On Sunday, she went the distance, giving up just two unearned runs with eight strikeouts - including the last out of game - as the Knights completed the series sweep with an 8-2 win.
UCF’s offense gave White the support she would need in the first inning, scoring five runs, including a grand slam from Shannon Doherty.
On Saturday, UCF run-ruled New Mexico State 11-2 as Karissa Ornelas, Georgia Blair and Jazmine Esparza all hit homers and Gianna Mancha picked up her second win of the season, going the distance and giving up just two runs.
On Friday, White tied Shelby Turnier’s record with her 80th win of her career, going four innings and giving up one run while striking out seven.
The Knights tied a school record with 18 runs in a 5-inning game with a 18-1 win. Jazmine Esparza set the tone with a 3-run homer in the bottom of the first, and the Knights never looked back.
The 18 runs are most scored during the Cindy Ball-Malone era.
Jazmine and Alea were both named to the top of the conference honor roll for their performances:
Baseball: UCF Loses 2 of 3 in High-Scoring Series vs. FAU
Here’s the good news from the Knights’ season-opening series versus the Florida Atlantic Owls: Their offense scored 36 runs in three games.
The bad news? Their pitching and defense allowed 38.
The Knights averted a sweep on Sunday by blasting three home runs en route to a 15-6 victory. They also put together one hell of a wacky sixth inning.
Nick Romano started the frame with a solo homer. OK, that sounds normal. But then the next eight Knights all reached base and five of them scored without any hits recorded. Here is a quick rundown of that nonsense:
Inning recap:— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) February 21, 2021
Baseball is freaking weird, man.
The Knights also scored 15 runs on Saturday night but still came up short as the Owls posted 20, the most runs allowed by the Knights in more than a decade. The 35 total runs were the most in a UCF game since 2009.
Freshman starter Hunter Patteson, the Knights’ best pitcher this fall, was tagged for 10 runs on just five hits and four walks in 1.2 innings. UCF was also on the wrong side of some history as they got Tatis’d by FAU true freshman catcher Caleb Pendleton, who smashed grand slams — one off of Patteson, one off of Zack Bennett — in the second inning. That feat is even more amazing when you consider that those homers came in the first two at-bats of Pendleton’s collegiate career.
WATCH as @FAUBaseball's Caleb Pendleton hits not one, but TWO GRAND SLAMS IN ONE INNING— Conference USA (@ConferenceUSA) February 21, 2021
...did we mention these were the true freshman's first two collegiate at-bats? #SCTop10 | @SportsCenter | @ESPNAssignDesk | @notthefakeSVP | #TheCUSAWay pic.twitter.com/YcJFs7FRXn
Pendleton’s performance overshadowed an historic game from UCF’s own catcher as McCabe tied a program record with eight RBIs.
Two days before UCF benefited from poor defense, their own mistakes in the field during Friday’s season-opener put the Knights in an early 5-1 hole. Left fielder Tom Josten brought the Knights all the way back with a no-doubt grand slam in the seventh inning. Four-run homers really had a weekend.
But the Owls would regain that four-run advantage in the next inning as UCF’s bullpen faltered. Reliever Jack Sinclair allowed three earned runs in 0.2 innings that night, which is one more run than he allowed in 13.1 innings last season. He also gave up two runs on Sunday in 2.1 innings. This is worth monitoring as Sinclair is, undoubtedly, UCF’s best returning bullpen arm.
The Knights ultimately fell on Friday, 12-6. That’s the most runs UCF has ever allowed in a season premiere.
Next up is a Tuesday home date against Stetson before UCF visits No. 1 Ole Miss for three games next weekend. The Rebels defeated No. 3 Texas Tech on Sunday and have won 18 consecutive games, dating back to February 2020. We’ll see if UCF head coach Greg Lovelady can return for that road trip.
Women’s Soccer: UCF Starts Season 2-0 with Home Win over Cincinnati
Ellie Moreno scored in the 85th minute of the match on an assist from Katie Bradley that gave the Knights a 1-0 win to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Moreno’s heroics would earn her AAC Offensive Player of the Week honors
Here's this week's Honor Roll!— American WSoccer (@American_WSoc) February 22, 2021
Caroline DeLisle, GK - @UCF_WSoccer
Mathilde Kack, D - @UCF_WSoccer
Morgan Dewey, D - @ECUSoc
Katie Kitching, M - @USFWSOC
Sydney Martinez, GK - @USFWSOC pic.twitter.com/tJssVv1ice
DeLisle picked up her second clean sheet of the year and 12th in her career as the Knights defense held the Bearcats to just one shot on goal. It is the second time in the last three seasons played that the Knights have open with back to back shutouts (2018).
Men’s Soccer: No. 14 UCF Upset at Home by South Florida
Despite heavily outshooting the Bulls tonight, we couldn't outscore them.— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) February 21, 2021
We'll get another shot at them later this season, but for now, we look to bounce back next Saturday at Tulsa.https://t.co/kHDA43R8RZ
Despite UCF leading every offensive statistic at the end of the match, the Knights dropped a second straight home match, losing to the arch-rival South Florida Bulls, 2-1. The Knights out shot the Bulls 20-11 and had a huge advantage in corner kicks, 12-3. But UCF gave up a goal in the 12th minute to fall behind, and a second goal in the 55th minute to go down 2-0.
Lucca Dourado forced an own goal to cut the deficit to 2-1 in the 81st minute, and UCF had several chances in the final nine minutes, but were denied by Bulls goalkeeper Kazuna Takase, who made 12 saves, a UCF Soccer Complex record by any goalkeeper. Yannik Oettel made six saves, two shy of a personal record.
The Knights are now 1-2 with seven games left in the season.
Men’s Tennis: #19 UCF Sweeps UNF
The Knights bounced back from a tough 4-3 loss to No. 10 Texas A&M on Wednesday with a dominant road performance in Jacksonville, sweeping UNF 7-0 to improve to 3-2 on the year.
Trey Hildebrand clinched the match for UCF with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Patrick Kotan.
Volleyball: UCF Sweeps Temple On Road to Improve to 8-0
KNIGHTS WIN ‼— UCF Volleyball (@UCF_Volleyball) February 19, 2021
We take down Temple again to move to 8-0 on the season pic.twitter.com/zIpIeFls4V
UCF began conference play by disposing of Temple in Philly, taking both matches in three-set sweeps.
Kathryn Wesolich was huge in Thursday’s win, coming up with two huge blocks in key situations for the Knights. Wesolich finished with eight block assists and six kills, and was efficient in her attacks, hitting at a team-high .667.
McKenna Melville led the offense with 15 kills, including the final two in a comeback effort in the second set, which the Knights claimed, 28-26.
Melville notched her second double-double in Friday’s win with 15 kills and 10 digs to push UCF to an 8-0 start. It’s the second-best start in program history, trailing only the 1983 team that started 9-0.
UCF was supposed to play Miami this weekend but that series has been cancelled. We don’t yet know if the Knights will have another team scheduled for this weekend.
Knight of the Week: Alea White, Softball
No surprise here. White went 2-0 on the weekend allowing three unearned runs and picking up career wins number 80 and 81. Sunday’s start also was her 113th career start, which ties her for 2nd all-time with Turnier, 12 behind the record held currently by Mackenzie Audas (125).
Sunday was also White’s 147th appearance in the circle which is three away from Audas’ record (150), and her 88th career complete game, which is second most all-time behind UCF Athletics Hall of Famer Allison Kime (96).
For the season, White is 4-0 with 1.52 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched.
Honorable Mention: Gabriel Decamps, Men’s Tennis
Gabriel Decamps went 4-0 this week with Men’s Tennis going 2-0 in doubles with Trey Hildebrand and 2-0 in singles highlighted by a straight set win over No. 4 ranked Valentin Vacherot of Texas A&M on Wednesday (7-5, 6-4).
Honorable Mention: C.J. Walker, Men’s Basketball
Walker averaged 16 points per game along with 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in helping the Knights to a 2-0 week with wins over South Florida and Tulane.
Walker made a game-saving block during the closing seconds of the Tulane win on Saturday and scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half. You can check out Brian Murphy’s recap of UCF’s win at Tulane here.
C.J. Blocker came up big in some big moments pic.twitter.com/S07cazFtlY— UCF Men’s Hoops (@UCF_MBB) February 20, 2021
Walker’s offense has picked up as he has recorded double-figure points in three consecutive games, including a season-high 18 points in the win over South Florida on Wednesday.