The No. 17 UCF Knights softball team wrapped up Senior Weekend in historic fashion as seniors Gianna Mancha and Kama Woodall threw a combined no-hitter on Sunday, the 20th in program history.
The day also ended in walk-off fashion as senior Justene Molina laced an RBI triple down the right field line to give UCF the 8-0 win over Tulsa in six innings to improve to 42-11 on the season and 14-1 in American.
Let’s Go Around the Bases with my thoughts from the weekend sweep:
1st: Balanced Offense on Sunday
After scoring only 4 runs in the first two games, the offense exploded on Sunday with 8 runs on 14 hits, with all nine starters getting it least one hit.
Shannon Doherty had 3 hits and 3 runs batted to lead the way, as did senior Denali Schappacher who also had 3 hits, while Jada Cody chipped in with her 62nd RBI of the season which puts her within 5 RBI of breaking Stephanie Best’s single season RBI record of 66 in 2003.
6️⃣2️⃣ RBI for Jada! #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/ADtZoaca8O— UCF Softball (@UCF_Softball) May 1, 2022
Molina ended the game with the walk-off RBI double in the 6th.
#ProtectedThePlex with a storybook ending! Justene walks it off to seal the combined no-no! ⚔ #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/yqvpuFz5D4— UCF Softball (@UCF_Softball) May 1, 2022
2nd: Mancha & Woodall Have Been an Incredible 1-2 Punch
Once again Gianna Mancha and Kama Woodall dominated an AAC opponent, as both combined to give up just one run in the 3-game series which fittingly concluded with a combined no-hitter on Sunday that made ESPN SportsCenter:
Gianna and Kama got the SportsCenter treatment after yesterday’s combined no-no! #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/xwEQbmPHWP— UCF Softball (@UCF_Softball) May 2, 2022
It was Mancha’s 3rd no-hitter of her UCF career, which puts her in a tie for 3rd-most no-hitters in program history with Shelby Turnier, behind only Allison Kime (4) and Mackenzie Audas (5). Mancha picked up her 40th win as a Knight, becoming the 8th UCF pitcher to reach that number.
A standing ovation as Gianna exits— UCF Softball (@UCF_Softball) May 1, 2022
One of the best to do it as a Knight ⚔ #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/UQYCZotmQR
Woodall’s legacy will go down as being the Mike Hughes of softball, as no Knights softball player ever had a bigger impact playing just one year than she did.
3rd: Defense Was Clutch
UCF’s Defense was showcased nationally on Saturday as well.
With a runner on 2nd and two out with UCF up 2-1, Tulsa’s Kylie Norwood hit a line drive towards left, but found the glove of a diving Kennedy Searcy, who perhaps saved the game with an incredible play in the infield that also made SportsCenter:
Snagged No. 7 on #SCtop10 @UCF_Softball pic.twitter.com/FNXGlCtWis— UCF Knights (@UCFKnights) May 1, 2022
The incredible defense continued in Sunday’s game, with Johnesha Rowe making an incredible catch in center that saved the no-hitter.
This @UCF_Softball defense tho‼️ pic.twitter.com/gwKfo4KSY6— UCF Knights (@UCFKnights) May 1, 2022
Home: 2022 Is UCF’s 2nd-fastest Team to Hit 40 Wins
The Knights reached the 40-win mark with Friday night’s 2-0 2-hit shutout by Mancha. UCF is the 4th team in the country to reach 40 wins, joining Oklahoma, Florida State, and USC Upstate. Only the 2015 UCF team reached 40 wins faster than this team in program history. That team ended up with 50 wins, and the AAC regular season and tournament championships.
On Deck: UCF will be playing for a championship for the rest of the season, starting this weekend when the Knights travel to Wichita State to take on the Shockers in a series that will decide The American’s regular season championship.
UCF has a one-game lead over Wichita State going in. It is the first time ever that the Knights will play for a conference championship on the final weekend of the regular season. Following this weekend, UCF heads to Greenville to play in the AAC Softball Championships.