UCF softball took down Michigan, 3-2, in an 11-inning, walk-off thriller Saturday afternoon in NCAA softball regional action. The Knights came back from a 2-1 deficit, down to not only their last out but their last strike to tie up the game and send it to extras.
Down by one in the bottom of the seventh, UCF's Johneisha Rowe led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and then to third on a groundout. The Knights were now down to their last out, and went with pinch hitter, Maddie Bejarano. And guess what — Bejarano became an instant hero when she ripped an RBI double to center field to tie up the game.
Down to the last strike…CLUTCH! pic.twitter.com/SD5yDNN29C— UCF Knights (@UCFKnights) May 21, 2022
The Wolverines used their ace, Alex Storako, and then Meghan Beaubian, the starting pitcher, again to close out the game. But the Michigan bats were dormant, and Bejarano wasn't done yet. In the 11th, she sent another bullet down the right field line, this time bringing in the game-winning run to walk off the game.
Game tying hit AND game winning hit!— UCF Softball (@UCF_Softball) May 21, 2022
Maddie B is the definition of clutch! pic.twitter.com/4JC0Ay9wHL
Kama Woodall pitched a complete game for the Knights with 10 strikeouts and five hits allowed. She gave up the two runs early, but held the Wolverines scoreless for six innings to allow her offense to pull through and win the game.
UCF made history when the Knights received a top-16 seed to host a regional. There was one small stipulation, though, they would have to face Michigan — a team they lost 6-0 to in the regular season.
The beginning looked like the makings of a pitchers duel. The Wolverines had Beaubien starting in the circle, with Woodall going for the Knights. The Wolverines broke through first after Woodall walked two in the second and Annabelle Widra sent an RBI single into left field to give Michigan a 1-0 lead.
Beaubien kept working her magic in the circle as the Knights' bats remained silent. She struck out four Knights in the first four innings — and two of those were UCF's star hitter, Jada Cody. The Wolverines struck again the top of the fifth, this time on an unearned run after an error in the outfield let Ella McVey cross home without a play.
Down 2-0, the Knights finally got something working against Beaubien in the bottom of the sixth. Ashleigh Griffin ripped a double down the left field line to score Shannon Doherty and not only cut the lead in half but chase Beaubien.
Then came the heroism of Bejarano off the bench to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh and walk it off in the 11th.