It's said that great teams find a way to win. UCF thinks of itself as a great team, and on Friday, found an unusual path to victory.
A walk-off, four-pitch walk in the bottom of the ninth by Derrick Salberg gave the No. 7 Knights (19-4) the victory over Presbyterian (14-8) in game one of the series, 6-5.
It was the second walk-off victory of the season for UCF, with the first one coming on a single by JoMarcos Woods against Ole Miss on Feb. 27.
"We've got a sign in our dugout that we put up every weekend that says 'play every pitch,'" UCF head coach Terry Rooney told UCF Athletics. "These guys did that. They played every single pitch tonight and then found a way to get it done at the end."
The score was tied heading in to the 8th, but Presbyterian took the lead after a lead-off walk came around to score. UCF didn't score in the bottom of the frame, but in the 9th tied it up on a sacrifice fly by Matt Diorio. Then, after a strikeout and a walk, the bases were loaded and the stage was set for Salberg's heroics.
"I had been struggling today at the plate," said Salberg to UCF Athletics, who went 0-4 with two walks. "But that last at bat was the only one that mattered… going up there I just wanted to win it for my team." On the mound, the win was recorded by Zach Rodgers (3-0), who pitched the final two innings and allowed one run.
Game two of the series is Saturday at 4 p.m.
Colin Bell is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.