While buzzer-beaters are taking up March Madness, epic walk-offs are all the rage in college softball. That was the case in USF’s 4-3 win over No. 9 Texas on Friday night, as freshman infielder Kathy Garcia-Soto sent the Bulls home winners with a walk-off home run in the home half of the seventh inning.
DOWN GOES #11/9 TEXAS!!!!!!!!!@Kathygarcia_21 HITS A WALK OFF HOME RUN!!#HornsUp🤘 pic.twitter.com/wjDZIcmZpC
— USF Softball (@USFSoftball) March 18, 2023
Garcia-Soto, who hails from Tampa’s Jefferson High School, hit her first career collegiate home run and she couldn’t have picked a better time to do so. She launched an 0-1 pitch from Texas junior left-hander Estelle Czech into the left field bleachers, giving USF its second walk-off win of the day. After racing around the bases, Garcia-Soto was mobbed by her teammates at home plate.
Earlier Friday afternoon, Garica-Soto had a walk-off RBI single to defeat Lehigh University 8-7, in eight innings — which was the first game of the South Florida Showdown. Talk about having yourself a day at the ballpark. The unlikely hero is hitting just.178 in her first season of collegiate softball, but she came up clutch twice when it mattered on Friday.
The college softball world reacted to Garcia-Soto’s epic walk-off blast.
“Congrats @USFSoftball and Coach Ken Eriksen #HornsUp,” wrote former USF and Seattle Seahawks quarterback, B.J. Daniels.
Congrats @USFSoftball and Coach Ken Eriksen #HornsUp🤘 https://t.co/TUfzudnGKN
— BJ DANIELS (@BJDANIELS10) March 18, 2023
“Well this capped a pretty darn fine day for #USF athletics,” said Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times.
Well this capped a pretty darn fine day for #USF athletics https://t.co/vSP4YxXpek
— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) March 18, 2023
“Down goes #9 Texas!! Just goes to show that when you play with the horns, you get the horns! #HornsUp #RunWithUs,” said USF women’s lacrosse head coach, Mindy McCord.
Down goes #9 Texas!! Just goes to show that when you play with the horns, you get the horns! #HornsUp #RunWithUs🤘 https://t.co/74XZilbSNw
— Mindy McCord (@CoachMcCordLAX) March 18, 2023
The official USF Athletics account was pumped.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!#HornsUp🤘 https://t.co/8sqzRxZROR
— USF Athletics (@USFAthletics) March 18, 2023
The walk-off home run also drew the attention of Team USA softball star, Kelsey Stewart-Hunter, a future Olympian and a back-to-back National Champion with the Florida Gators.
— Kelsey Stewart Hunter OLY (@stewartkels7) March 18, 2023
The official NCAA softball account also got in on the action on Twitter.
𝑾𝑨𝑳𝑲 𝑶𝑭𝑭 𝑾𝑰𝑵𝑵𝑬𝑹 🚨 @USFSoftball upsets No. 9 Texas, 4-3, with a walk off home run from @Kathygarcia_21! #NCAASoftball x 🎥 ESPN+pic.twitter.com/6sKedAzQYp
— NCAA Softball (@NCAASoftball) March 18, 2023