After a walk-off win just one night ago, UCF kept the momentum going Saturday afternoon, topping Florida Gulf Coast University 5-3 for yet another thrilling win in the UCF Softball Invitational.
The Knights (9-6, 0-0 AAC) trailed the Eagles (10-7, 0-0 ASUN ) early on, but the two sides battled back and forth until the final inning, where UCF junior designated player Courtney Rotton hit a huge walk-off bomb to win the game.
“We said it in the locker room and I’ll say it again, it was just another great team win,” coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said.
The Knights looked a little slow at first, but when the Eagles put one up on them early, they seemed to wake up, answering back with a run just the inning after. After that, UCF seemed to lock down defensively, making some big plays in the outfield.
On the offensive side of things, even when they did not get on base, the Knights kept making hard connections at the plate.
“We hit the ball hard tonight, and even when we didn’t get on base we still hit the ball well and hard,” Luers-Gillispie said. “Anytime a team has to change a pitcher three times is a great sign for our offense.”
After retiring the first three batters for FGCU, UCF was finally able to deliver offensively, as freshman catcher Autumn Gillespie came up big with an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth.
Even with a two-run lead, the Knights could not get comfortable as the Eagles, who finished the game with no errors on the night, continued to answer and eventually tied the game at three in the top of the fifth.
With neither team able to break the tie, the stage was set for the Knights to try and win the game off a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh.
At first, it looked as if freshman outfielder Kyra Klarkowski was going to be the hero, as she beamed a ball right off the back wall for what turned out to be a double. But it was Rotton, who currently holds the best batting average on the team (.405), who blasted one over left field, pushing the Knight’s to a 5-3 win.
“I was just looking for something to hit solid and to where I could score Kyra.” Rotton said. “She just threw the right pitch at the right time and I just swung and it went. It was awesome.”
The Knights close the weekend invitational Sunday at 1 p.m. where they will host Providence at UCF Softball Complex.
Sarah Kelliher is a contributor for the Central Florida Focus. You can follow her on Twitter at @SaraheKelliher and you can email the sports team at EvanA@centralfloridafocus.com.