The Bulls ended a four-match losing streak Thursday with a 6-2 win against the Charlotte 49ers.
“We needed a win. Today we got one,” said USF coach Sherry Bedingfield. “My team has got to play with heart. This game was a good start (of that).”
USF (3-5) won five of six singles matches. Jennifer Sinclair played No. 3, beating Charlotte’s Jana Cuccinielle 6-1, 6-2.
“So much of tennis is mental toughness,” said Sinclair. “I was pretty calm today, but I had to be patient. (My opponent) got to everything. I had to concentrate on placing the ball.”
In doubles, the Bulls won two matches. No. 2 doubles team Jennifer Sinclair and Claudia Nieto took their match 8-0. “It felt really good to win,” said Nieto. “We have been working very hard. This game we felt more comfortable together. “I can set her up, and we do very well. Jennifer is so positive. She helps me keep a good attitude through the whole match.”
Next week the Bulls have two matches in Tallahassee. The first is against Michigan State on Sunday at 9 a.m., and in the second the Bulls face Florida State on Monday at 11 a.m.
- Amanda Collins
Suspensions rock Bulls
Second baseman Ginny Georgantas and backup third baseman Rena Rodriguez were both suspended indefinitely due to a violation of university and athletic policy of academics and could not play Thursday in the Speedline Invitational Thursday. The length of their suspension is unknown.
Without Georgantas, who has a batting average of .254 and is second on the team with 71 at-bats, the Bulls could not muster any offense and lost against Chattanooga 1-0 and 2-0 to the Cowboys.
Due to the suspensions, the Bulls (7-18-1) moved Rachel Williams to second base, and Niki Trowell played third against Chattanooga, with Holly Groves moving into Georgantas’s fifth spot in the lineup. When Trowell took the mound against Oklahoma State in the Bulls’ second game of the night, Williams went back to her usual spot at third and Corin Tassio played second.
“We definitely lost some depth with not being able to suit up Rodriguez and Georgantas,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “I’m definitely not happy about it.”
The Mocs (13-5) scored with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to hand the Bulls their first loss of the day.
Against the Cowboys USF could not find an answer to pitcher Lauren Bay, who played on Canada’s junior national team and who Eriksen considers a candidate for the 2004 Canadian Olympic team.
Freshman pitcher Tassio (1-5) allowed six hits in the game for the Bulls. Trowell (6-8) kept the Bulls close in their losing efforts.
“It was the best day of softball we had all year. Tassio threw a great ballgame, and Niki did an unbelievable job against Oklahoma St.,” Eriksen said.
Eriksen is proud of his team’s performance of late and is equally as proud of the way they handled themselves after hearing the news about Georgantas and Rodriguez.
“There could have been some distractions,” he said. “But they banded together very well, and they were really mature tonight.”
- Bryan Fazio
Bulls face national champs
South Florida baseball will travel to Miami this weekend to challenge the defending national champion Hurricanes in a three-day series.
Friday’s starter will be John Gorham. Jason Bartz will start Saturday with Jon Uhl ending the series Sunday.
One area of concern for the next few series for the Bulls revolves around the catcher position. Allen Shirley, who has made nine starts this season, fractured the fifth metacarpal in his right hand March 1 against Massachusetts. Devin Ivany, who has split time at left field and catcher, will spend most of the time behind the plate in Shirley’s absence. Ivany, however, was suffering from a slight pain in his throwing shoulder during this week’s practices.
Freshman Brian Baisley, who Cardieri said he hoped to redshirt this season, injured his ankle during batting practice. In his absence, Kris Courier may be called on to fill some of the catching duties.
Cardieri did say that Ronnie Handley, a catcher in junior college, has been working behind the plate and could fill in if a third catcher is needed.
- Jarrett Guthrie
Barr goes for record
Nine years ago Don Barr came to the USF campus to take over a tennis program that hadn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 1974.
Saturday, Barr looks to become the all-time leader in coaching victories at USF. With a Bulls’ victory over Pacific, Barr will break the tie with Bill Perrin (1981-89) in coaching victories at 145.
“I never really even thought about it (the record) as a goal,” Barr said. “I came here wanting to get this program nationally ranked and to be competitive with the best.”
Nine seasons and four conference championships later, Barr has the Bulls ranked No. 35 in the nation. But he’s not ready to stop there.
“In the next four years we should keep moving up,” Barr said. “I am not satisfied with just being ranked, and neither are the players.”
- Chris Lemke