Ousting the Owls

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) -Senior Jessica Ujvari used one swing of the bat to send UCF Softball to the NCAA Gainesville Regional final. She delivered the walk-off home run to give the Knights a 2-1 win over Florida Atlantic at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium on Saturday evening.

"We knew that if we had to face (FAU) in the Florida Regional, it was going to be tough," head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie said. "Having to face them twice, we knew that it was going to be any woman's game. They are a tough team and I was proud of the girls for coming out and just wanting it."

UCF (38-21) advances to the regional final for the third straight season. FAU (51-9) took the early lead, but the Knights remained patient and even things up in the fourth inning. SeniorJamie Ujvari and the Knights defense kept the Owls off the scoreboard in the final six innings, forcing the Black and Gold to extra innings for the fourth time this season. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Jessica Ujvari gave the Knights the walk-off victory.

"It was incredible, such a good feeling," Ujvari said. "I can't downgrade the other hitters either - we had great at bats, Linnea (Goodman) with a great at-bat, Cassady (Brewer) with what, a 17-pitch battle. It just created momentum. We each had a goal of the day and mine was to be the spark or the momentum. I was really happy I could do that for my team. Our entire offense was battling and Kylee Hanson is a great pitcher. For us to come up with that win, it was huge leading into Florida tomorrow."

Jessica Ujvari was joined by fellow seniors Samantha McCloskey and Kalyn Cenal, along with sophomoreCourtney Rotton and freshman Tiffany Lower as the five Knights to record a hit in the contest.

Sister, Sister
• Seniors Jamie Ujvari and Jessica Ujvari provided a 1-2 punch for the Knights on Saturday evening. 
• Jamie Ujvari tossed a season-high eight innings, fanning six batters in the complete-game effort. She allowed just four hits and an unearned run.
• Jessica Ujvari reached on an error in the first inning and went 1-for-4 at the plate, but her hit was a timely one for the Knights. With two outs and a 1-1 count, the Pensacola, Fla., native sent her ninth home run of the season over the wall in left field for the walk-off win.
Jamie on Jessica's game-winning homer: "She always has to give me a little competition. She won't ever give me the credit, but it's ok, I'm very proud of her. She's tough on me, too, in between innings. I knew Jessica and our entire team were going to come up big offensively for us this game."

Extra Innings
• The Knights took the Owls to extra innings for the second time this season. During the regular season, FAU pulled off a 2-0 international tiebreaker win at the UCF Softball Complex.
• After the Owls used a Black and Gold throwing error to score in the second inning, the UCF defense buckled down and limited FAU to just five runners over the final six innings.
• UCF shifted the momentum in the fourth inning, using a one-out double from Samantha McCloskey to start a rally. 
• Tiffany Lower stepped in as a pinch hitter and laid down the bunt to put runners on the corners, and Kalyn Cenal's RBI single down the left field line allowed pinch runner Megan Greenwell to even the score at 1-1.
• The UCF defense kept FAU off the board for the final six innings, setting Ujvari up for the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth.

Next up
The Knights advance to the Gainesville Regional final on Sunday, facing No. 1 Florida at noon Seashole Pressly Stadium. In the double-elimination regional, UCF would need to defeat the Gators to force a Game 7 immediately after.