The USF softball team (18-12) opened play at the Speedline Invitational with two solid wins Thursday, beating Rutgers 4-0 and Tennessee Tech 8-3 to sweep.
Against 0-and-6 Rutgers, the Bulls used a four-run third inning and a brilliant performance by sophomore pitcher Kasey Cash to blank the Owls 4-0.
Cash (4-3) struck out five batters and allowed only one hit in five innings of work.
“Tonight was a breakthrough (for Cash),” USF coach Ken Eriksen said. “She kept us in there long enough for our bats to come alive.”
In the bottom of the third, the USF bats awakened in a big way. With two runners on, Bree Spence singled to left to score two. The next batter was Krista Holle, who took Christine Gillman deep to left field for a two-run homer that put the Bulls up 4-0.
Nicole Christensen came in to replace Cash in the sixth inning and she continued the dominance of the Scarlet Knight batters by not allowing a hit in her two innings of work. The Bulls’ four runs proved to be enough, as the pitching duo of Cash and Nicole Christensen combined to shut out Rutgers.
In the second game, Holle hit her second home run of the tournament — a two-run long ball to straight-away center — to cap a five-run fifth inning for the Bulls.”I was just seeing (the ball) big tonight,” Holle said.
Holle’s home run was her third of the season and it extended her hitting streak to seven games.
USF added three more runs in the top of the sixth to make the score 8-0, and it looked to be heading to a win by the eight-run rule. But when the Golden Eagles (12-13) started to rally in the bottom of the sixth, Spence was brought in to relieve pitcher Danielle Urbanik (6-4). Spence held Tennessee Tech to two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to give the Bulls the win.
The Bulls will play Penn State tonight at 7. The game will be rebroadcast on Tuesday on Catch 47 at 8 p.m.