Softball swept by No. 19 Gators

The early season woes continue to haunt the USF softball team as the Bulls dropped both doubleheader games with No. 19 Florida on Wednesday at the USF Softball Field. Florida completed the sweep, winning 2-1 and 4-1, behind solid pitching and timely hitting.

The No. 24 Bulls left a combined 14 runners on base in the two games and scored two runs on 12 hits. Sophomore pitcher Cristi Ecks had her first loss in the first game, and Kristen Gordon was credited with the 4-1 loss in Game 2.

“You can’t leave runners in scoring position in fast-pitch softball, because you only have seven innings,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “I told the team that our three, four, five, six hitters need to step up. You have to have your big RBI hitters start driving in runs.”

In Game 1, the Gators (6-1) grabbed an early 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Ali Gardiner and a fielder’s choice RBI from Mary Ratliff. Florida loaded the bases with one out after third baseman Jessica Landau couldn’t pick up a groundball cleanly, which allowed Melissa Zick to reach on the error.

“If we catch the ball in the first inning, then it’s a 0-0 game,” Eriksen said. “The difference in the first game for us was the errors in the field.”

The Bulls (3-4) mounted a late charge at the lead, scoring a run in the seventh inning on an RBI double by Britta Giddens. However, freshman Alison Savarese popped out to the catcher to end the game.

In Game 2, Gordon gave up a go-ahead home run to Gardiner to lead off the top of seventh. Gordon hung a fastball on the outside corner, and Gardiner drove the ball to left field for the opposite-field homer. It was Gordon’s first run allowed in 13 2/3 innings pitched this season.

“It was a mis-pitch, and it was a home run,” Gordon said. “That’s what happens at this level.”

Kasey Cash relieved Gordon and gave up two more runs on an RBI double from Kim Waleszonia and an RBI single from Corrie Brooks.The Bulls fell behind 1-0 in the second game, but battled back to tie the game at 1 in the bottom of the fourth. Savarese and Courtney Mosch hit consecutive singles, and Ashley Bullion had an RBI single to center to score Savarese.

“It’s somewhat frustrating not getting hits with runners in scoring position,” senior Danielle Urbanik said. “But I know we are going to come through. We are just struggling right now.”

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