USF will look to play its first complete game in nearly two weeks this weekend when Louisville comes to the USF softball stadium for a three-game set.
The Bulls (29-8, 3-0) traveled to play Rutgers last weekend but were bombarded with a heavy rainstorm that lasted the entire trip.
USF played half an inning before the entire series was postponed and yet to be rescheduled, but the trip wasn’t a complete waste, according to USF coach Ken Eriksen.
“We gained two days of rest and recovery, and caught up on our studies,” he said.
USF is still in second place in the AAC due to winning percentage, while Louisville (20-14, 2-4) sits at fifth.
The Cardinals are either first or second in many AAC offensive categories, along with USF. Eriksen is expecting the same quality squad the Bulls saw last year when they eliminated the Cardinals from the Big East Tournament.
“I’m expecting the same exact thing from last year,” he said. “They’re relentless. They got the same pitching staff, and the same big hitters.”
Louisville senior infielder Katie Keller leads the charge for the Cardinals. She ranks top five in the AAC in batting average, on base percentage, runs scored, hits, doubles, total bases and walks.
Keller has been nominated as a finalist for the 2014 Senior Class Award, along with USF senior pitcher Sara Nevins.
The left-hander is 17-4 with a 1.26 ERA and leads the AAC in strikeouts, opponents’ batting average, innings pitched, wins, and saves. Eriksen said he wouldn’t compromise the team by giving Nevins more opportunities, just to get an award.
“One thing I’ve never done, there’s coaches that will play for statistical recognition,” he said. “We’ll stay with what’s best for the team. The nice thing about our senior class is they know it’s the best lineup that day to win the ballgame. We’ll do what it takes to win whether its Nevins, (Sam) Greiner, (Erica) Nunn or (Karla) Claudio.”
Another benefit of the Bulls being out of game action is the chance to heal from nagging injuries, bumps or bruises. Senior Kourtney Salvarola and freshman Ta’Coia Williams both missed a small amount of time after being hit by pitches.
With the help of good weather this weekend, the Bulls will play a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. Saturday followed by a series finale at 11 a.m. Sunday.