The University of South Florida’s softball team prevented going 0-5 in the Louisville Slugger Tournament this weekend when they tied Tennessee 4-4 in final game Sunday.
Last season, the Bulls reached the regionals of the NCAA tournament after starting the season 0-5.
“It’s a good sign,” head coach Ken Eriksen laughingly said about his team’s start. “I would be worried if we were 5-0 right now.”
After the Lady Volunteers posted three consecutive run innings, starting in the fourth, the Bulls posted a three-run seventh inning to tie the game.
With Holly Groves on second base after a wild pitch, Ginny Georgantas had her first hit of the season, a single which drove in Groves and brought Georgantas to second after an error. Niki Trowell then reached base after a single and proceeded to steal second with Georgantas still on the bag. After coach Ken Eriksen screamed, “Go back, go back,” Tennessee lost concentration and chased down Trowell, allowing Georgantas to get to third.
Georgantas then came home for the tying run off of a single by Stephanie Roberts with the bases loaded after an intentional walk to Rachel Williams. With Williams on third and the bases loaded Tennessee walked Shelly Riker for USF to take a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Lady Volunteers then scored in the bottom of the seventh to ultimately end the game in a 4-4 tie after the game ended in the eighth inning. Adrianna Wilson hit a single to drive in Whitney Bradshaw.
“Coming back three runs in the seventh inning shows they have spunk,” Eriksen said. “When you think about all the games we’ve played except the 9-3 game (against FAU) we’ve had either the winning run or the tying run at the plate or on deck. That shows a lot that the team is not buckling at the end so I’m pretty thrilled to death of that stuff.”
The team’s resiliency is one thing to be thrilled about but its pitching to start the season is one thing to be worried about. Throughout the first five games the Bulls allowed 46 hits and 28 runs.
“You’ve got to realize that we are a very, very young team with very inexperienced pitching,” Eriksen said. “This weekend I am happy. I really am happy with what I saw from (Katie) Dugger and Trowell and I know that (Corin) Tassio is going to bounce around.”
On the first day of the tournament the Bulls lost 6-2 to Northwestern after Tassio allowed four runs including a home run to Robyn Pettinger in three innings of relief.
The second game of the day was a 4-3 loss to Tennessee, which put together a three-run sixth inning. The Bulls allowed seven hits and walked seven against the Lady Volunteers.
Nicole Myers of the tournaments first place team, Florida Atlantic, proved why she was an All-American when she had two hits, with a home run and four RBIs in a Bulls 9-3 loss. She then pitched the next game to defeat the Bulls 5-2, throwing a complete game striking out ten batters.
USF, which has gone 0-8-1 the last two years in the tournament, lost its third consecutive season opener Friday to Northwestern.
- Bryan Fazio covers softball and can be at firstname.lastname@example.org