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With one out and the score tied at zero in the bottom of the seventh inning, Samantha McCloskey stepped up to the plate for the Knights.

A voice rang out from the crowd, "Hit it out of here," but the junior catcher let the first pitch fly past for a ball.

She dug her cleats into the dirt, honed in on the ball heading toward her and connected as she sent a walk-off home run over the left-field fence to win the game, and the American Athletic Conference Championship, 1-0, for UCF on its home field.

"I almost stopped, but I started crying. It was incredible," McCloskey said. "I tend to think too much, so see the ball; see the ball [is] what I need to do. I just saw the ball deep and happened to drive it."

One game removed from a 3-1 victory over USF, in which No. 15 UCF (48-7) tallied two runs in the top of the seventh, proved worthy of an automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals.

McCloskey's bat and junior Shelby Turnier's precision pitching were just two bricks laid down in the Knights' win.

McCloskey, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, went 3-for-3 and Turnier gave up just one hit. The Knights' defense was there every step of the way, recording no errors through two games.

"I just kept telling myself, 'I've held these guys to no runs for 16 innings before, this wasn't any different and that my team was going to come through eventually,'" Turnier said.

With the outstanding record they have compiled this season, the Knights have a chance to host Regionals.

They will find out where they are headed and what seed they will be in the NCAA Tournament during a selection show, which will be aired live on ESPNU at 10 Sunday night.

"I'm excited for what they have in front of them," said head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie. "If we do host, to see their reaction of being able to host and knowing that they've made history for UCF [is going to be great]."

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Jarrod Heil is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @JHeil11.

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