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#24 UCF Softball Walks Off #5 Florida on Karissa Ornelas’ Dramatic Home Run

Knights stun Gators in thriller

Karissa Ornelas Softball, UCF Softball
Karissa Ornelas (13) celebrates with her teammates after hitting a walk-off home run to beat Florida
Photo Courtesy: UCF Athletics

Down 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh, the UCF Knights needed their bats to come alive one more time if they wanted to beat the #5-ranked Florida Gators.

Did they ever.

With one on, Jada Cody knocked home Allyse Volpe on a clutch double to tie it at 6-6, as she kept fouling off pitch after pitch against Florida’s Elizabeth Hightower.

A couple of batters later, Karissa Ornelas stepped to the plate with a runner on and one out and delivered a shot for the ages:

Ornelas’ 2-run bomb on a 2-2 pitch — after fouling off four straight — gave UCF a thrilling 8-6 win. It was the 700th all-time victory in the history of UCF Softball.

The scenes on the field were epic:

It was a game that had a bit of everything. After the Gators jumped out to a 5-1 lead with all five of those runs coming in the top of the third, the vaunted UCF offense responded with four in the very next frame, courtesy of back-to-back home runs by Georgia Blair and Shannon Doherty:

A sacrifice fly by Kyra Klarkowski knotted it up at 5-5 after three.

Both teams came up with key defensive plays into the late innings, when Florida broke through in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Hannah Adams. The lead stood until the bottom of the seventh, when the Knights’ heroics took center stage.

Ornelas described the euphoria after the game:

Cody, whose critical double set the table for Ornelas, was just as thrilled:

Alea White took the win for UCF in relief of Gianna Mancha, who tossed two-and-a-third innings of three-hit ball, but walked four and left with the bases loaded. White allowed all of the inherited runners to score, but kept UCF in it the rest of the way, surrendering just two hits from the fourth inning on.

Head coach Cindy Ball-Malone said afterwards that she was proud of her team for showing they belong on the national stage:

The win puts UCF at 20-6 as they prepare to open conference play, and should doubtless raise their national profile in the eyes of College Softball experts and voters as it is the Knights’ second win against a top five team in the country. UCF defeated No. 2 Arizona on March 8th, 2-0.

But this milestone win is one many Knight fans alums of programs will remember against a rival inFlorida who had similar dramatic wins at UCF’s expense in the past.

But for tonight at least, it was a great night to be a UCF Knight.