GREENVILLE, N.C. – Jada Cody and Shannon Doherty had three-run home runs and Kama Woodall pitched five shutout innings to lead No. 17 UCF to an 11-0 win against South Florida Saturday morning in the American Athletic Conference Championship final at Max R. Joyner Family Stadium.
The Knights (46-12) won their second American Athletic Conference tournament title, their first since 2015. and earned The American’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
UCF’s 11 runs set a tournament record for The American championship final, while it marked the first time that the championship game ended with the eight-run rule.
Cody and Doherty were both 2-for-3 with a three-run home run Saturday to help power the Knights to a 7-0 lead after two innings. Cody was chosen as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after she hit .667 (4 for 6) with five RBIs in UCF’s two tournament wins.
After penciling in American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year Georginia Corrick (36-5, 0.53 ERA) as the starter for Saturday’s final, South Florida coach Ken Eriksen made a late switch and moved Vivian Ponn from the designated player spot to the pitching circle. The Knights took advantage as Doherty put UCF on the board with a three-run blast to right-center, and Denali Schappacher scored from second when the Bulls couldn’t handle Johneisha Rowe’s chopper through the infield to make it 4-0 after the first inning.
The Knights broke it open in the bottom of the second when Justene Molina led off with a four-pitch walk and Maddie Bejarano reached on an error to put two runners on for Cody. Cody stroked an 0-1 pitch well over the leftfield fence for her 12th home of the season, giving UCF a 7-0 lead.
UCF added four more in the bottom of the fourth as Ashliegh Griffin’s bases-loaded single to center brought Bejarano in to make it 8-0, a Bulls error allowed another run to score, and Molina delivered a two-out, two-run single to make it 11-0.
The lead was more than enough for Woodall, who scattered three hits, all singles, and struck out four in five innings to improve to 17-4 on the year.
Cody, Doherty, and Woodall joined Savannah Adams, Gianna Mancha and Alyssa Volpe as UCF’s representatives on the All-Tournament Team, while South Florida placed Alexis Johns, Dezerae Maldonado and Meghan Sheehan on the squad. Houston’s Rock Benevides and Wichita State’s Sydney McKinney and Lauren Mills rounded out the all-tournament selections.
May 12-14 | Max R. Joyner Family Stadium | Greenville, North Carolina
First Round | Thursday, May 12
No. 4 Houston 5, No. 5 Tulsa 2
No. 2 Wichita State 22, No. 7 Memphis 0 (5 innings)
No. 3 South Florida 8, No. 6 East Carolina 0 (6 innings)
Semifinals | Friday, May 13
No. 1 UCF 4, Houston 2 (8 innings)
South Florida 5, Wichita State 4
Final | Saturday, May 14
UCF 11, South Florida 0 (5 innings)
Most Outstanding Player
Jada Cody, C/3B, UCF
All-Tournament Team
Savannah Adams, IF, UCF
Jada Cody, C/3B, UCF
Shannon Doherty, IF, UCF
Gianna Mancha, P, UCF
Allyse Volpe, OF, UCF
Kama Woodall, P, UCF
Rock Benevides, IF, Houston
Alexis Johns, OF, South Florida
Dezerae Maldonado, IF, South Florida
Meghan Sheehan, OF, South Florida
Sydney McKinney, IF, Wichita State
Lauren Mills, DP, Wichita State