Bulls look for momentum in two Wednesday games
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 00:03
USF won three games in a row for the first time since the beginning of the season and will try to keep the momentum going Wednesday against Central Michigan at 6 and 8 p.m.
So far, the Bulls have struggled to meet the high expectations that came after a 2012 Women’s College World Series campaign, with a 6-10 start and a seven-game losing streak halted last Friday.
Junior shortstop Kourtney Salvarola said the Bulls are almost in the clear.
“We’ve talked about going through a ‘storming’ phase to start the season,” she said. “I feel like with three wins in a row now, we’re not out of the storm yet, but we can see our way out.”
The voyage out of the storm may have begun last Wednesday against the No. 4 Florida Gators.
The Bulls lost 3-1, but competed with an excitement and vigor that hadn’t been seen since the opening weekend of the season.
USF played flawless defense and hit Gator pitching hard, but unfortunately for the Bulls, right into the Gators defense.
“Playing well against a team of that caliber was a confidence boost that carried us into a good weekend,” she said. “It proved to ourselves once again that we are a good team.”
The Bulls brought positive energy to Friday’s contest against No. 17 Kentucky, keeping the game tied at two until a ninth-inning defensive collapse cost the Bulls four unearned runs and their 10th loss of the season.
USF didn’t dwell on the catastrophe and went on to win the next three games of the weekend series against Illinois, Toledo and Illinois-Chicago.
“The one thing Coach keeps telling us is to play like we’re kids again,” she said. “A lot of us were putting too much pressure on ourselves trying to repeat last season right away, and I think that we’ve relaxed now.
Two more opportunities to make it out of the storm come Wednesday night against the Central Michigan Chippewas.
The first game of a double-header will begin at 6 p.m. in the USF softball stadium, with the second game starting 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first.
The Bulls could take advantage of the Chippewas’ pitching staff, which has posted a collective 3.28 earned run average while the Bulls have posted a 1.80 ERA.
The Chippewas are 6-4 coming into Tuesday’s action, while the Bulls are 9-10.
“I didn’t even know our record,” Salvarola said.