Coming off a disappointing sweep against DePaul last weekend in Tampa, the USF softball team looked to rebound against another struggling squad when it traveled to Philadelphia to face Villanova for a doubleheader Wednesday.
But the Wildcats (20-27, 6-10), who had lost eight of their previous 11 Big East contests, breezed by a reeling Bulls team with two decisive victories, 8-4 and 6-1.
“We are struggling to put all three aspects of the game – pitching, hitting and defense – together at the same time,” said USF assistant coach Stacey Heintz. “Everyone has been working hard, but we just need to get everybody to play together as a team.”
Key errors in the field continue to plague the Bulls (21-26, 6-10), who have lost five in a row. Their five errors in the doubleheader led to seven unearned runs for Villanova, which did not commit an error.
USF also failed to capitalize when it had runners on base, stranding eight in the first game and nine in the second.
Freshman Lindsey Richardson took the loss in the opener, pitching only three innings and allowing six runs (four earned) on 10 hits.
“Lindsey (Richardson) got off to a slow start and wasn’t able to hit her spots,” Heintz said. “Today just wasn’t her day, but she will get back to work and be ready to go for us this weekend.”
Sophomore Capri Catalano lasted just 2 1/3 innings in the second game, suffering the loss after giving up four runs (three earned) on seven hits.
The two losses spoiled a big day for sophomore Laura Fountain, who hit her first-career home run in the third inning of game one to give the Bulls a 4-3 lead. The third baseman went a combined 4-for-6 in the doubleheader with four RBI and two runs scored.
“Rounding the bases was a relieving feeling because I realized that I actually can hit the ball out of the park at this level,” Fountain said. “But the end result was another couple of losses, so it’s hard to be really excited.”
USF was without starting catcher Cat Olnick, who fouled a ball off her mouth during a game Sunday. Olnick had the day off, and the team will wait to see how she feels during the next few days, Heintz said.
The Bulls will look to get on track this weekend when they host Louisville (32-15, 11-5) for a three-game series, which opens with a doubleheader at noon on Saturday.
“We need to come out with much better focus this weekend,” Fountain said. “Everyone has had their moments this season, but they all come in different spurts. We all need to play well at the same time, and hopefully that happens soon.”