After eight straight conference games, the Bulls are taking a midweek break from AAC play to take on Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers tonight at 6.
The last time USF (31-12, 3-4) played FGCU (20-22, 3-9), they set a school record with 11 runs in a single inning, eventually run-ruling and shutting out the Eagles in five innings at the USF Softball Stadium.
FGCU will be the Bulls’ first nonconference opponents since they faced Canisius on March 17. So far USF is 28-8 against non-AAC teams, compared to FGCU’s 17-13 record out of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
USF is 5-2 all-time against FGCU and 2-0 this season against Atlantic Sun teams overall.
Currently the Bulls lead the AAC in several offensive categories, including batting average, hits, on-base percentage, stolen bases and triples. The Bulls are 23-0 when they score first and 16-1 after scoring in the first inning.
Senior Karla Claudio has led the charge for USF as of late, batting .438 with seven hits, three home runs and 12 RBIs in her last seven games. Claudio also leads the NCAA in saves with seven through 43 games. She went 3-for-6 with two runs and an RBI this past weekend against UConn and hopes to carry momentum from that dominating play into the matchup with the Eagles.
On the Eagles’ side of the ball, senior and Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference member Kelsey Carpenter has led her team from the plate. Carpenter is batting .345 with 41 hits, five home runs and 27 RBIs. Additionally, she leads FGCU with a .538 slugging percentage.
USF has outscored non-AAC foes 202-93 this season and are looking to get a confidence-boosting win before their rematch with top-ranked Florida on April 15.