USF (34-18, 4-0) at Connecticut (15-15 4-4);USF at Providence (19-8, 4-4)
When: Sat., Noon, 2 p.m.; Sun., Noon, 2 p.m.
Where: UConn Softball Field, Raymond Field
The story: The USF softball team will be looking to stay undefeated in the Big East and increase its winning streak to eight games in the team’s first conference road trip of the season this weekend.
The trip will feature doubleheaders against Connecticut on Saturday and Providence on Sunday.
The Bulls, ranked first in the Big East Conference, will hit the road carrying momentum after posting back-to-back shutouts to sweep Stetson on Wednesday. USF has won 15 of its last 18 games, with 10 of the victories coming in the form of shutouts.
Connecticut improved its record to .500 with a 2-0 shutout of Quinnipiac on Wednesday and is ranked eighth in the Big East. The Huskies will be looking for a solid performance from Micah Truax. The freshman utility player is second on her team in batting average (.305) and leading the Huskies in home runs (5), hits (29) and slugging percentage (.495).
Providence College will play host to the Bulls on Sunday for USF’s second doubleheader of the weekend. The Friars are on a three-game losing streak and tied with the Huskies at eighth in the Big East. If the Bulls hope to stay undefeated in conference play, they will have to contain Providence’s Elena Romero. The senior shortstop’s .423 batting average is ranked first in the Big East, and Romero is leading the Friars in hits (33), RBI (23) and total bases (54).
Keep an eye on: USF starting pitchers Cristi Ecks (14-9) and Bree Spence (15-6). Freshman Ecks is ranked second in the Big East in ERA (1.02), innings pitched (138.2) and strikeouts (138). Spence’s 1.29 ERA is ranked fifth in the Big East, and the sophomore right-hander is holding opposing batters to a .200 average. Both starters have also combined to post 14 shutouts this season.
– Eric Moeller