The South Florida softball team will see one of their own on the other side of the diamond this weekend when Monica Triner, a former Bulls standout, coaches Virginia Tech against the Bulls Friday in the second day of the Speedline Invitational at Plant City.Triner played from 1996 to 1999 and she had a storied career while rewriting the record book.
She is the career leader in home runs with 23 and has the most wins as a pitcher with 92, throwing a USF-best 641 strikeouts in 788 innings along with being the top five in many other categories.
The Bulls will start the Speedline Thursday against Chattanooga at 5 p.m. and then play Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. The Bulls then play Purdue on Friday at 4 p.m. before facing the Hokies at 6 p.m. There are 24 teams competing in the tournament, including last year’s winner and World Series competitor Stanford.Saturday, USF faces Northern Illinois at noon and two undetermined teams Sunday.
Triner is now an assistant for the Hokies and will be trying to help them find a way to beat the Bulls.
“I told the girls you better beat them,” Triner said. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be different being on that sideline and (USF) on the other side.”
Triner was watching the Bulls as they were playing a doubleheader against Penn State Tuesday night.
She was there partially as a scout and as a fan watching some of her old teammates play. The only remaining players who played with Triner are third-baseman Ginny Georgantas and outfielder Alanna Hazzard.
“We’re going to kick her butt. It’s great competition. Monica knows our team so there’s no secret,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “I guarantee she’s getting it all out there to her team making sure they know all the tricks of what’s happening.”
Triner credits her success and softball knowledge to Eriksen and her USF playing experience.
“Every day I came out to practice, when I was here, he gave me all the knowledge that I have,” Triner said. “Hopefully that will help me out somewhere. If I use it the right way, it will help me out.”Eriksen enjoys watching his players at all levels of their careers, from when they are playing for him to when they are on their own in softball.
“We have a bunch of people right now coaching high school and college that came through this program with me and that’s a nice feeling looking across seeing her,” Eriksen said. “There is a lot of pride in that.”
The coach and former player will put their pride of each other aside and go for the victories with their respective teams.
“I wish her luck against all those other teams in the world but against us,” Eriksen said.
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