In their last-ever regular season series as members of the American Athletic Conference, the UCF Knights had a memorable and historic weekend sweeping their three games against the South Florida Bulls. It is the first time ever the Knights have swept the Bulls at home. The capper was also the program’s 800th win.
Let’s go around the bases for my takeaways.
1st: Chloe is Clutch
Chloe Evans drove in 4 of the 7 runs the Knights scored this weekend, driving both runs in Friday night’s 2-1 8-inning win, highlighted by the walk-off hit.
On Sunday, Evans broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the 6th by singling on a ground ball to South Florida shortstop Kathy Garcia-Soto, who made the throw to first base that was not handled by the Bulls' Lydia Castro.
Evans leads the Knights this season in hits (51), Batting Avg (.347), and RBI with 38.
2nd: UCF Pitching Owned USF
In the three-game sweep, the UCF pitching staff of Sarah Willis, Grace Jewell, Kaitlin Felton, and Angelina DeVoe held the USF offense to 2 runs on 10 hits in 22 innings. It is the fewest runs the Knights have held the Bulls to in a 3-game series. Willis picked up the win on Friday, going 8 innings and giving up just 1 run followed by 6 shutout innings in Sunday’s win.
Jewell got the win on Saturday’s game, going 5 innings and giving up 1 run before handing it over to DeVoe and Felton, who closed the game for the save as the Knights won 3-1 scoring all 3 runs with 2 outs in the bottom of the 4th, which included a 2 RBI hit to left field for Kennedy Searcy that would prove to be the difference in the game.
Jewell closed the game out on Sunday with a save. The Knights have given up 2 runs or less in 11 of the last 12 games.
3rd: What is the Future of the USF Series?
This weekend was the last scheduled meeting between the Knights and Bulls with UCF leading the all-time series 23-19. Both teams could meet at the AAC Tournament in Tampa in 3 weeks. Many fans and media were wondering about the future rivalry.
UCF Head Coach Cindy Ball-Malone is now 11-4 all-time against USF winning the last 11 meetings. Ball-Malone addressed the future of the series when asked by the media after Sunday’s win.
This weekend marks the final regular-season meetings between #UCF and #usf as conference mates.@EricLopezELO gives his take on which sports he thinks should continue #WarOnI4...and which ones *shouldn’t*.— Black & Gold Banneret (@UCFBanneret_SBN) April 21, 2023
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Home: More Big Games Ahead for Knights
The Knights hit a home stretch with 6 games left with a 30-19 record and an RPI ranking of 30 as of Monday which puts the Knights in a good position of making the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time in program history. However, the Knights need to continue to win as any losses to Houston at home and or Memphis on the road would hurt the Knights’ RPI ranking and put them on the bubble.