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Mancha, No. 22 UCF Softball Shut Down No. 2 Arizona, 2-0

Gianna Mancha deals a gem in the upset

Gianna Mancha Softball
Gianna Mancha
Image Courtesy: UCF Athletics

The UCF Knights Softball team pulled off arguably the most memorable home win in program history by knocking off No. 2 Arizona, 2-0 on Monday. The Knights ended Arizona’s nation-best 23-game win streak.

Knights pitcher Gianna Mancha was the star of the game as she dominated an Arizona offense that is among the best in the country, throwing a 3-hit complete game shutout with 9 strikeouts.

It is the first time Arizona has been shut out since June 1, 2019 against Alabama at the Women’s College World Series - a streak of 646 days. It is also the first time Arizona has been shut out in a regular season game since April 27, 2019 at California.

The Knights capitalized on opportunities on offense with a bases-loaded walk by Karissa Ornelas in the first that put UCF up 1-0.

They added a second run in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out, two-strike double from Georgia Blair.

That would be all that Mancha and the Knights needed as they improved to 13-3 on the season while posting the signature win of the Cindy Ball-Malone era and perhaps the best regular season win in the 15 years of the UCF Softball Complex. We will break that down when we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Plex’s opening later in the month.

To put this win in perspective, UCF just knocked off the New York Yankees of college softball. Arizona has been one of the standards in college softball since the '90s, led by the legendary Head Coach Mike Candrea, who is the all-time leader in wins (1,645) and national titles (8) in college softball history.

Japan v USA - Softball Friendly
Dejah Mulipola is scheduled to represent the U.S. National Team this summer in Tokyo in Olympics
Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images

The Wildcats are also one of the favorites for the national title in 2021, led by star catcher Dejah Mulipola, who will be representing the United States this summer in Tokyo in the Olympics and could be the National Player of the Year.

It is a win that will resonate throughout the college softball world for the entire 2021 season. The Knights hope it is just the beginning of a memorable ride.