The UCF Knights Softball team puts an exclamation point on their case to host an NCAA Regional with an 11-0 run-rule victory in five innings over USF to take the American Athletic Conference Tournament title.
It is the 1st time since 2015 that the Knights have won both the conference tournament and regular-season titles in the same year.
The win is also the most-lopsided UCF victory over the Bulls in the history of the War on I-4 rivalry and the most runs from a single team in an AAC tournament game in conference history.
Kama Woodall pitched all five innings in her 17th win of the season, allowing only three hits and striking out four batters. The game also marked her first time playing in Greenville since she transferred from East Carolina in the last offseason.
LF Maddie Bejarano had a couple of defensive highlights of her own. Coming off the bench to fill in for an injured Alyse Volpe, Bejarano made a pair of diving catches.
On the offensive front, eight hits were all the Knights needed. Of course, it helped that two of those hits were three-run home runs by 1B Shannon Doherty and 3B Jada Cody.
Cody’s home run, hit in the 4th inning, had the added effect of bringing her RBI total on the season to 69, surpassing Stephanie Best to take the program single-season RBI record all to herself.
Cody tied the record with an RBI single and an RBI double in the Knights’ semifinal game against Houston the day prior.
They were also the team’s only RBIs until the 8th inning when pinch-hitter Savannah Adams hit a two-run walk-off home run to get the team to the championship game. It was also Adams’ first homer of her collegiate career.
The conference title grants UCF an automatic place in the NCAA Tournament. The only unknown now is where will the team’s regional be. With the win over the Bulls, the Knights now have X wins against Top 50 opponents in the RPI rankings, making their case to host an NCAA Regional next weekend.
The team will find out if it was enough on the NCAA Softball Tournament Selection Show tomorrow at 7 p.m. on ESPN 2.
For more of Bryson and Eric’s thoughts about the game, the season, and the Knights’ chances of hosting an NCAA Regional, check out a special episode of Knight Shift: