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UCF Softball Beats Mississippi State In Thriller Before Primetime ESPN2 Audience

UCF goes 2-3 in Clearwater Invitational with wins over Mississippi State and Michigan.

UCF Softball #66 Sarah Willis celebrates a home run against Missouri.
Noah Goldberg

The No. 20 UCF Knights Softball team finished off the 2023 TaxAct Clearwater Invitational Tournament with a 6-5 win over Mississippi State to improve to 5-5 on the season. The Knights went 2-3 in Clearwater, with wins over the Bulldogs and Michigan, while suffering setbacks to Texas A&M, Duke, and Alabama.

Let’s go Around The Bases and see what we learned in Clearwater about the Knights:

1st: Angelina DeVoe Is Ms. Clearwater

Angelina DeVoe has become a workhorse out of the bullpen, appearing in all 5 games this weekend in Clearwater and picking up both wins for the Knights.

DeVoe is 3-2 on the season and has 5 career wins, 3 of which have come in Clearwater. DeVoe’s first career win was against Texas in Clearwater last year, but this year, DeVoe is a more complete and confident pitcher.

That was on display Sunday night as she struck out four Bulldogs in two innings of relief.

DeVoe’s longest outing of the season came in Saturday’s game against Duke, going five innings, giving up one unearned run, and striking out three in the Knights’ controversial 4-3 10 inning loss.

DeVoe has 15 strikeouts in 18 innings this season.

2nd: Cody and Doherty Legacy Grows

Jada Cody and Shannon Doherty’s legends continue to grow.

Cody hit three homers this week, with her first coming on Wednesday night’s home game vs. No. 23 Missouri, which moved her to 5th place all-time at UCF in RBIs. The Knights would tie a program record with five homers in a single game in an 11-8 loss to Missouri.

Cody followed it up with a homer against Michigan in Clearwater in a rematch of the 2022 Orlando Regional Final, as the Knights hit four more homers in an 8-2 win.

Cody’s 3rd homer came in Saturday’s 8-inning 6-5 loss to No. 12 Alabama.

Cody currently ranks 3rd all-time at UCF in homers (28), 5th in RBI (126), and 7th in total bases (286) and runs scored (119).

Doherty added to her clutch legacy Sunday night against Mississippi State, driving in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 6th with two outs, scoring Katie Burge.

It was Doherty’s 95th career RBI, which is two away from Jessica Ujvari for 9th place all-time.

Doherty currently sits one homer away (22) from a tie for 3rd place all-time, as she set the tone with a 2-run homer against Michigan.

3rd: UCF Played Better in 2023 than in 2022 in Clearwater

UCF ended up going 2-3 in the tournament, which was better than 2022, when they finished 2-4.

But the Knights were just two plays away from going 4-1, with two hard-fought extra-inning losses to top-20 ranked teams in Duke and Alabama.

The Duke loss goes down as one of the most controversial losses in program history, as the Knights had a run taken away in the top of 8th when Jasmine Williams was called for tagging too early from 3rd on a sac fly that would have given the Knights a 4-3 lead.

SIDE NOTE: I was there. SHE DID NOT LEAVE EARLY! And many in the sport that watched the play said the same to me over the last two days.

Still, The Knights had many positives from the weekend. UCF gave up 42 runs in 6 games last year, got run-ruled twice, and was outscored 42-25. This year, The Knights gave up 24 runs in 5 games (getting outscored just 24-22) with three games being decided by one run.

UCF last year left Clearwater with a 6-5 overall record. This year the Knights leave Clearwater with a 5-5 record.

Home: UCF Will Return to Clearwater in 2024

It was announced Sunday night that UCF will be part of the Clearwater Invitational for a third straight year in 2024.

The event is great exposure for the program with Sunday night’s game airing on ESPN2 in primetime — the first-ever primetime linear TV appearance in history. UCF also got exposure all weekend, from interviews with ESPN to thousands of fans in attendance watching UCF play great competition on the field. All of this helps the national brand of UCF Softball.

On Deck: UCF begins a stretch of seven games this week with six at home, starting Tuesday night against Louisiana at 6 p.m.