After winning both games Saturday against Dartmouth and Marshall, USF secured a spot in the championship matchup Sunday at the USF Wilson DeMarini Tournament against No. 16 Auburn.
USF failed to generate any runs against the Tigers, losing 8-0 in five innings.
“I think we’re getting there,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “We were doing a lot of uphill running the last three or four days and it can wear on you a little bit, especially when you’re playing against a deep team with some tremendous talent in Auburn.”
Senior pitcher Karla Claudio (1-2) took the brunt of the Tigers’ scoring, surrendering four earned runs off seven hits in 2 1/3 innings. Senior Sam Greiner gave up four runs in 2/3 of an inning.
The Bulls held Auburn (17-1) to two runs for the first two innings, but a grand slam by Auburn’s Kasey Cooper rounded out a six-run third inning that would stand until the fifth inning, when the Tigers won by run-rule.
“The nice part is we’re seeing that we can compete with teams for four, five and six innings, but we have to be able to compete with them for eight innings and get a W,” Eriksen said.
USF dropped both Friday games against Auburn 6-2 and Marshall 6-4, but rebounded to win both Saturday games, defeating Dartmouth (1-4) 5-0 and winning its second game against Marshall, 11-0 in five innings.
The Bulls had their best offensive showing of the season, putting 18 runs on the board in an 18-5 win over Marshall (11-3) in the second game of the Saturday doubleheader.
The USF hitters showed their patience against the Marshall pitchers with 13 walks, five of which resulted in runs.
Junior Lee Ann Spivey led the team with four RBI, batting .405 on the season with a team-leading 17 RBI. Twelve of the 16 Bulls who appeared in the game contributed a run.
“I think we came out today knowing that we didn’t play our best yesterday and we wanted to show people what we were made of, and we did a really good job of that today,” Spivey said.
USF returns next weekend in the USF Under Armour Invitational with three games Friday at the USF Softball Stadium and three games Saturday and Sunday at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.