A MONSTER weekend of UCF Knights sports brought home some big wins, plus we name the Knights of the Week in your latest Knight Cap for Monday, March 29:
No. 26 UCF Men’s Tennis Makes Statement With Three Ranked Wins over Weekend
What a week for UCF Men’s Tennis. The Knights won four matches against ranked teams with three of them coming on the road.
First on Wednesday, UCF knocked off No. 31 Arkansas 6-1 at home. Gabe Decamps was happy with team performance.
But the Knights were not done: They went on their much-anticipated three-match road trip over the weekend, starting with knocking off No. 48 SMU 4-0 in Dallas on Friday.
Then it was off to the state of Oklahoma, where UCF’s Director of Tennis, John Roddick, would face his old program in No. 24 Oklahoma, whom Roddick built into national power. The Sooners were no match for the Knights as UCF took down, Oklahoma 4-0.
UCF concluded the trip Sunday in Stillwater, where they would knock off No. 18 Oklahoma State 4-2 to improve to 12-3 overall on the season, and announce themselves to the college tennis world as a legit national title contender.
Up Next: The Knights host Wake Forest Wednesday 5 p.m. - Eric Lopez
No. 18 UCF Women Tennis Rolls In Conference Opener vs. SMU
Improved to 9-0 at home with today's win!— UCF Women's Tennis (@UCF_WTennis) March 28, 2021
We got the job done in doubles and never looked back on our way to our first @American_Tenn victory of 2021.#ChargeOn ⚔ #SomethingSpecialhttps://t.co/ertLibvejo
UCF Tennis continues to boast a tremendous home-court advantage as the Knights improved to 9-0 at the USTA National Campus with a 4-1 win over SMU in their American Athletic Conference opener.
Fought through adversity and played the big points well— UCF Women's Tennis (@UCF_WTennis) March 28, 2021
to hear from BK pic.twitter.com/vdTBbfmwnL
UCF will host the American Athletic Conference Championships as well as the NCAA Tournament and Singles and Doubles Championships.
Up Next: at Oklahoma State Saturday - Eric Lopez
Volleyball Wraps Regular Season at 14-1 with Double Sweep of South Florida
For more on the Knights’ weekend, check out our article here:
- Jeff Sharon
No. 22 UCF Softball Sweeps Houston
The Knights concluded a memorable week with a walk-off win over Houston on Sunday to complete a four-game sweep of the Cougars to start AAC play and improve to 24-6 on the season. It was the third walk-off win of the week.
We know about the first on Wednesday against No. 5 Florida. The second one came in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Houston on Friday as Jada Cody hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 8th to give UCF the 2-1 win.
UCF would win Game 2 of the doubleheader 5-1 on Friday and take the third game 4-1 on Saturday to clinch the series.
On Sunday, Georgia Blair hit her 11th home run of the year to give UCF a 1-0 lead. Only Stephanie Best and Jania Shinhoster have hit more home runs in a single season than Blair’s 11:
But the Knights found themselves down 3-2 going into the bottom of the 7th. They would mount a comeback, getting three consecutive hits with two strikes, starting with Justene Molina pokiing single to right on an 0-2 pitch, followed by Jazmine Esparza’s double on a 3-2 pitch. Kennedy Searcy got the walk-off hit to the right side, driving in Molina and Esparza, to give UCF the 4-3 come-from-behind win.
UCF has now won six in a row and should skyrocket in the rankings after a 5-0 week.
Up Next: at Tulsa April 1-3 - Eric Lopez
Men’s Soccer Stuns USF on Golden Goal by Yoni Sorokin
For more on the UCF Knights Men’s Soccer Team collecting their fourth win in a row, check out our article here:
- Jeff Sharon
Baseball Loses 2 of 3 in Strange Series at Troy
Friday’s opener was all about UCF’s pitching, but particularly starter Colton Gordon. He didn’t let a three-hour rain delay before the start of the game affect him as he went on to strike out 14 in just six innings of work. Those 14 Ks were the most in a single game by a UCF pitcher in 14 years.
Gordon along with relievers Ben Vespi and Hunter Patteson recorded 19 strikeouts, tying a program record. They were supported by Jordan Rathbone’s sixth home run on the year and a couple of RBIs each from Pablo Ruiz and Ben McCabe in a 6-3 victory. By the time the Knights secured the final out of the game, it was after midnight in Troy, Ala.
The late night appeared to make both offenses weary on Saturday as the Trojans scratched out a 2-1 win. UCF had its chances but left a runner in scoring position in three of the last four innings. The loss put the Knights at 2-7 for the season in one-run games. Jack Sinclair threw five innings of two-run ball before Zack Hunsicker posted three scoreless frames. UCF’s lone run was McCabe’s ninth homer of the year.
McCabe went 4-for-4 on Saturday with a double and that HR. The rest of UCF’s lineup went 2-for-26 with a couple of singles.
Sunday’s finale was pushed up by an hour to noon Central in order to hopefully avoid some bad weather in the forecast. No dice. UCF starting pitcher AJ Jones allowed eight hits and seven runs to the first 13 batters he faced before rain and lightning appeared in the second inning. After a pause of more than two hours, the Knights returned to the field and promptly saw their 7-0 deficit grow to 9-0 by the end of the second and then 11-1 by the close of the fourth.
But the Knights didn’t roll over. Instead, they pieced together their best offensive inning of the season in the fifth. Fourteen men came to the plate and nine scored — including five with two outs — as the Knights suddenly turned what had been a total blowout into an 11-10 thriller.
If only they could have held the Trojans. And if only they had a little more time. Troy immediately responded after that big inning with three runs of their own to take their lead to 14-10. In the eighth inning, UCF was down 14-12 with two on and two out. However, Andrew Brait struck out looking to not only end the rally but also end the game. That strikeout occured at about 5:30 p.m. Central, which was the scheduled cut time for the Knights to make sure they could catch their flight home. So, the game ended after eight innings, 14-12.
To recap: UCF won a game that started three hours late and ended “early” and lost a game that started early and ended early because it was getting late. Two lengthy rain delays, a record-tying pitching performance, a nine-run inning in a loss, and yet another one-run defeat. Just another weekend for UCF Knights Baseball.
The Knights (10-13) will host Jacksonville on Tuesday in their final non-conference game of the regular season. Conference play starts this weekend with a four-game set in Tampa versus the South Florida Bulls. - Brian Murphy
Knights of The Week
Gabriel Decamps, Men’s Tennis
Decamps is 14-1 in singles play with six wins over ranked players. He has won 12 straight singles matches and has skyrocketed to No. 4 in the national singles rankings.
Decamps is in position to not only help UCF compete for a national title in team competition, but has established himself as a national title contender in singles play.
Jada Cody, Softball
Cody had a memorable week, starting with going 2-for-4 with the game-tying RBI double in the bottom of the 7th against No. 5 Florida. The Knights would go on to win, 8-6:
Cody followed that up with a walk-off HR in the bottom of the 8th on Friday to cap her first-ever conference game:
On Saturday, down 1-0, Cody once again changed the game with a two-run homer. UCF would never look back, winning 4-1.
For the four-game series against Houston, Cody went 5-for-12 with two homers, three RBI and two runs scored. For the week, She went 7-for-16 with two homers, four runs batted in and four runs scored, helping the Knights go 5-0.
Colton Gordon, UCF Baseball
The bright spot of the weekend for UCF Baseball was Colton Gordon, who was dominant on Friday night to get the win at Troy. He went six innings and gave up just two runs while striking out 14 batters. That’s the most single-game Ks from a UCF pitcher since Brett Bordwine struck out 14 against Northeastern on March 7, 2007.
Gordon has racked up double-digit strikeouts in three of his last four starts. During that stretch, he struck out 43 batters in 28 innings and allowed just seven earned runs.