Thanks to solid team play and a late-inning home run, the USF softball team (38-19, 8-0 Big East) pulled off its biggest upset of the season on Sunday with a doubleheader sweep of the No. 18 Louisville Cardinals (26-7, 5-3 Big East).
“We just played a pretty solid doubleheader today,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “It wasn’t glorified, and it wasn’t glamorous. I think we had one really big hit today, and that was (second baseman) Britta (Giddens’) three-run homer in the second game. But other than that, we just played pretty solid softball.”
Game 1: USF- 2, UL- 1
After an RBI single by Leslie Garland gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead early in Game 1, the Bulls rallied back to get the victory thanks to RBI singles by senior Krista Holle and freshman Ashley Bullion in the fourth and seventh innings, respectively.
Bree Spence (17-6) was credited with the win, allowing six hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings, while Louisville starter Catherine Bishop (17-4) scattered five hits and allowed two runs in seven innings.
Third baseman Holle stressed the importance of team play in Sunday’s victories.
“I think it was a complete team effort, and everyone contributed in some way,” Holle said. “That’s what we need in all our games, whether the opponent is ranked or not.”
The first four innings of Game 2 featured a pitchers’ duel between USF freshman Cristi Ecks (16-10) and Louisville sophomore Kady Garrick (6-2).
In the fifth inning with the game still tied at zero, Garrick, having allowed only three hits through four innings, was relieved by Bishop, and the Bulls took advantage of the chance to face a pitcher they saw in the first game.
“I was a little bit confused there myself because Garrick was popping us up, and we really didn’t make many adjustments on her,” Eriksen said. “They brought Bishop in, and we just jumped all over her.”
After a single by sophomore Laura Wolf and an error by Bishop put Bulls runners on first and third, Giddens came up to the plate and hit a three-run homer to give the Bulls a quick lead.
After Giddens’ homer, senior Samantha Ray scored the final run of the game on an RBI double by Krista Holle, giving the Bulls a 4-0 victory.
“I think (getting hits against Bishop) was a little bit easier because she had pitched in the first game, and we had already seen her,” Giddens said.
Giddens went 2-for-4 and got three RBI in the second game. The freshman was happy with the victories and said the opportunity to beat a ranked opponent was very exciting.
“Everybody was excited, and the intensity level was amazing in both of the games,” Giddens said. “I think everybody feels really good about what happened this weekend.”