A walk, and a walk-off.
With the go-ahead run on third in the bottom of the ninth, Houston intentionally walked Tommy Williams to load the bases and get to James Vasquez. Vasquez put the first pitch he saw up the middle for a walk-off single, giving No. 6 UCF (22-7, 2-1) the 4-3 win against No. 15 Houston (19-10, 1-2).
"I'm very confident in myself," Vasquez said. "I just tried to not do to much and put a good swing on the ball and it worked out."
UCF had been trailing the Cougars since the second inning. In the bottom of the seventh, with two runners on, two outs and UCF down by one, Vasquez had failed to come through and popped out to the third baseman.
"The guys hung in there, they hung in there, they hung in there," said UCF head coach Terry Rooney. "They did a terrific job and executed there late."
Vasquez ended the game 3-5 with an RBI and extended his hitting streak to 13 games.The most impressive performance of the game was likely from UCF pitcher Zach Rodgers. Rodgers didn't start the game, but came in in the second inning and took over from there. He pitched the rest of the game, going eight innings, striking out five and allowing just one run.
"Maybe not my stuff but my focus, being able to split every pitch," Rodgers said. "That's a big thing me and coach Rooney have been working on lately — it's a big mental thing for me."
The win was especially big because it came against Houston, who was ranked as the preseason No. 1 team in the American Athletic Conference. Now, UCF is able to control its own destiny for the regular season conference title for the rest of the season.
The next game for the Knights is Tuesday against Florida Atlantic at 6:30 p.m.
Colin Bell is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.