UCF (13-29, 0-15) at USF (36-18, 6-0)
When: Today, 5
Where: USF Softball Complex
TV: Catch 47
The story: The USF softball team will host in-state rival UCF today in a contest that marks the team’s final non-conference game of the season. The game will be the team’s only matchup against the Golden Knights this season. The Bulls are undefeated 8-0 all time against UCF, with four of the victories occurring last season.
The Bulls, who are in the midst of a nine-game winning streak, are undefeated in conference play with a 6-0 record and will be looking to hand the Golden Knights their 30th loss of the season.
USF has won 24 of its past 30 games, with its pitching staff combining to record 10 shutouts over the span.
Sophomore Bree Spence (16-6) is posting a 1.27 ERA and is holding opposing batters to a .198 average while freshman Cristi Ecks, last week’s Big East Conference Pitcher of the Week, has a 0.98 ERA and has struck out 155 batters, good for second in the Big East. The Bulls are ranked second in the Big East in both team ERA (1.40) and team batting average (.291) this season.
UCF has been struggling lately, riding an 18-game losing streak and posting a winless 0-15 record in Conference USA. If the Golden Knights hope to turn their season around against the Bulls, they will need a strong performance from Cici Alvarez. The junior third baseman is leading her team in batting average (.315) and tied for the lead in hits (39). Alvarez also has a team-high 125 assists and has successfully stolen 17-of-18 bases this season.
Keep an eye on: Senior Krista Holle. In Game One of the Bulls’ doubleheader against Providence last weekend, the third-baseman went 2-for-4 at the plate, including a bases clearing double that drove in three runs. Holle ended the day with four RBI and is leading the Bulls in batting average (.348) and hits (54) this season.
– Eric Moeller