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UCF Baseball Gets Third Walk-Off Win in Nine Games

ORLANDO – "It's what you dream about."

That's what UCF's Tom Josten said after hitting a towering, walk-off home run Friday night to give the Knights a 6-4 win against Georgia Southern in the series opener at John Euliano Park.

"I was looking for the slider and reacting to any other pitch," said Josten. "I was just trying to stay in the middle of the field, and he kept throwing them across the space, but that last one just spun and I didn't miss it.

"That was the first one [walk-off HR] of my career and it was everything I dreamed of and more. It's awesome to do it at home in front of our awesome fans."

Trailing by one heading to the bottom of the ninth, the Knights provided some late-game fireworks. John Rhys Plumlee led off with a double to right center on the 11th pitch of his at-bat, sliding in safely ahead of the tag to stretch a typical single into a double. Andrew Brait's sacrifice bunt moved Plumlee to third, and Nick Romano followed promptly with an RBI single down the left line to tie it at 4-4.

Josten sent UCF fans home happy a few pitches later after he deposited a 3-1 delivery from Georgia Southern's Jay Thompson over the wall in right center, powering the Knights to the 6-4 walkoff win on his fifth home run of the season.

"Great win, I'm proud of our guys for not giving up," said UCF head coach Greg Lovelady. "We just kept showing up and trying to put guys on base. I told our guys that was a great job setting the tone for the series, let's enjoy it tonight and wake up tomorrow ready to win the series."

Georgia Southern scored the game's first four runs, but UCF countered by scoring the game's final six runs.

In the bottom of the fourth, Ben McCabe smashed a no doubter to left field to ignite the Knights' offense with the 20th home run of the season for UCF. McCabe was hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth inning and Lex Boedicker blasted a two-out, two-run shot into the Knights' bullpen to cut the deficit to one run at 4-3.

Ruddy Gomez pitched a career-high six innings, notching three strikeouts and allowing three earned runs. In three shutout innings, Gomez retired the side in order twice. Jacob Marlowe (2-1) took the mound in the seventh inning in relief and was lights out, notching three shutout innings to earn his second win of the season.

Corey Robinson, Romano and Plumlee each recorded a pair of hits in the game for the Knights, while five other UCF batters had one hit apiece.

"That was fun," Lovelady added. "The crowd was awesome."

Prior to this contest, the Knights and Eagles have traded wins, with the Knights taking the first, third, and fifth meetings. Breaking the pattern that was born in 1991 with tonight's victory, the Knights look to take the series at 4 p.m. Saturday evening.