The USF softball team had another defensive change in this weekend’s series against Houston, and besides the windy weather, the Bulls didn’t see any more changes from last year’s series in Houston.
The Bulls (7-14-1, 1-2 in Conference USA) ended the series with Houston the same as last year, dropping two of three games to the Cougars.
USF coach Ken Eriksen switched left fielder Shelly Riker to shortstop for Renee Oursler, and in the last two games, he put Oursler in left field. This worked in favor of the Bulls in the first game, but in the third game Sunday, the Bulls lost 6-4 with five errors, giving Houston pitcher Jamie Falco (8-1) the win. USF’s freshman pitcher Niki Trowell (6-7) took the loss.
The Bulls only scored one run in the second inning after Houston’s two-run lead in the first and waited until the fourth inning to earn another three runs.
“I think they were focused after the first two innings,” Eriksen said. “That’s where we’re having trouble- we’re not focused right when the game goes on. We’re waiting for the game to get comfortable, and at this level, you’re done.”
Eriksen said the change he made last week by putting third baseman Ginny Georgantas at second could be permanent, and the change with Riker at shortstop may work out for the team as well.
Riker, who made two errors in the first inning, said she needs to practice more at shortstop throughout the week to get comfortable in the position.
“I’m not satisfied with my performance. I know I can do better than that,” Riker said. “I need to get confident with myself.”In the second game on Saturday, the Bulls had seven errors and went through four pitchers after Trowell started the game and was replaced in the fourth inning.
In the seventh inning, the Bulls were behind 7-4, and Houston’s rally added seven more runs to the scoreboard from three hits, one of them a home run off freshman Katie Dugger. USF also made three of their four errors in the seventh and lost 14-4. The last time the Bulls gave up 14 runs was in 1995 against Southern Illinois University.
“In that inning the roof fell in on us,” Eriksen said. “I don’t mind losing, but I don’t like when we give up and lose focus.”However, in the first game the Bulls were able to pull out a win against Houston (16-8, 2-1 in Conference USA).
Dugger started off the game with four strikeouts, and in the third inning she gave up a home run, which tied the game 1-1. In the fifth inning Corin Tassio came in for Dugger and earned the win for USF.
In the bottom of the third, USF’s first baseman Carmela Liwag broke the tie with an RBI single to right center field. Georgantas also earned an RBI when she hit a single down the left-field line, making the score 3-1.
In the fifth inning, Houston scored two runs to tie it up again and take the game into extra innings. In the top of the eighth, Houston had runners on first and third, and a hit into right field could have put the Bulls behind, but right fielder Holly Groves made the catch and threw out the runner at home.
The Bulls won the game in the bottom of the eighth when pinch hitter Alanna Hazzard scored from third after Houston’s catcher overthrew the ball to the pitcher.
The Bulls will play Penn State on Tuesday and Eriksen said if the team minimizes its errors it could win.
“When you minimize the other teams at-bats, then you’ve got a shot to win,” he said.
- Contact Grace Agostin at email@example.com