Maine 4, USF 5
Clutch-hitting performances from the USF softball team (11-8) propelled the Bulls over the University of Maine 5-4 on Thursday at the Under Armour Invitational.
The Bulls held off a late-game rally from the Black Bears in the first game of the opening day double-header.
The Bulls led 4-3 until the seventh inning, when Maine’s freshman outfielder Kali Burnham scored off of a wild pitch thrown by freshman Capri Catalano, tying the game. Catalano struck out Maine’s next hitter to give the Bulls a chance to win in the bottom of the inning.
The Bulls came out swinging as senior outfielder Kit Dunbar singled and sophomore first baseman Jojo Medina doubled to left field. An intentional walk loaded the bases for sophomore third baseman Allison Savarese.
Savarese blasted a single to left field, scoring Dunbar to win the game for the Bulls.
Rain delays halted the Bulls’ second game against St. Joseph’s University in the fourth inning. The Bulls led 2-0 when the umpire called the game.
Senior outfielder Aya Nakajima scored an inside-the-park home run on a past ball thrown to first base. Sophomore shortstop Tara Toscano scored off of a single hit by Dunbar to give the Bulls the lead.
Play will resume Friday with senior pitcher Courtney Mosch on the mound.
“Pitching’s been very consistent. If we’re going to get good pitching we’re going to get good defense. It gives us the opportunity to score some runs.” USF coach Ken Eriksen said.
The Bulls will continue the tournament through spring break with games against No.12 Louisiana State University (16-4), Purdue University (11-5) and the U.S. National Team.
As a part of the KFC Bound for Beijing Tour, the National team will take part in the invitational against other colleges. The team began a stretch of games in Florida with its final stop in Clearwater.
The National team played in the 2004 Athens Olympics where it won the gold medal. Eriksen helped lead it to a first-place finish as an assistant coach. Eriksen said he is humbled at the opportunity for the Bulls to play against the world’s best.
“It’s an experience of a lifetime.” Eriksen said. “It says a lot about Team USA’s respect for our program. We must have a pretty good program if they want to play us.”
The Bulls will resume the game against St. Joseph’s University and play two additional games against North Carolina State (10-11) and Jacksonville University (11-13) on Friday.