With one swing of the bat, junior Samantha McCloskey gave No. 15 UCF the American Athletic Conference tournament championship.
The Most Outstanding Player of the tournament’s walk-off home run to left field gave the Knights a 1-0 victory over Tulsa on Saturday afternoon at the UCF Softball Complex.
Seniors Mackenzie Audas and Kahley Novak and junior Shelby Turnier joined McCloskey on the all-tournament team.
UCF (48-7) earned both the regular season and the tournament title for the first time in school history. The Knights used the 21st shutout of the season to capture the first tournament title since 2008.
With the title, UCF Softball, which is presented by City Kia of Greater Orlando, earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Knights will be making back-to-back appearances for the first time in program history.
The NCAA Selection show will be Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The UCF softball team will be hosting a watch party beginning at 9 p.m. at Bar Louie across from the UCF campus.
Turnier tossed a one-hit complete game. She fanned five batters with just two walks.
McCloskey, who went 3-for-3 on the day, opened the fifth inning with a single up the middle. After working a full count, sophomore Willow Kalinen drew a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. A groundout advanced both runners, but Tulsa’s Caitlin Sill got the Hurricane out of the jam with her first strikeout of the day.
Both teams were retired in order in the sixth inning. A pair of catches from Kalinen in right field and a groundout to junior Kalyn Cenal kept Tulsa off the scoreboard and sent the Knights to the plate where McCloskey delivered the game-winner.