Bulls look to continue winning streak before Big East opener
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 00:03
The Bulls softball team will try to extend it winning streak to 16 on Wednesday night against Dartmouth on the right arm of pitcher Sam Greiner.
With five consecutive wins, the Bulls would pass last season’s record of 19 wins in a row, but that isn’t the team’s focus, coach Ken Eriksen said.
“We take it by the moment,” he said. “That’s too far ahead. I never think that far ahead. I mean, I might not even live that long.”
Eriksen makes it through Wednesday’s contest and Thursday’s game against Cornell, there’s a chance he will witness an individual accomplishment of what he said was one of the best players he’s coached.
Bulls’ junior pitcher Sara Nevins is 10 strikeouts shy of breaking assistant coach Monica Triner’s USF Softball Hall of Fame record of 641 career strikeouts.
Much like Eriksen, Nevins is living in the moment.
“I didn’t even know about the record until they told me,” she said. “I haven’t talked to Coach Triner about it either.”
Nevins will be available out of the bullpen on Wednesday and Thursday, after Eriksen said Greiner will start Wednesday, and freshman left-hander Erica Nunn will likely start Thursday against Cornell.
If Nevins doesn’t break the record in the next two games, she’s likely to break it this weekend in a three-game Big East opening series against Rutgers.
Strong performances by Greiner and Nunn against Dartmouth and Cornell would allow Eriksen to rely heavily on his veteran pitching duo of Nevins and senior Lindsey Richardson this weekend.
Richardson, who was named Big East Pitcher of the Week, has combined with Nevins to throw six complete game shutouts in the last six games.
“I love the way they’re ham-and-egging it right now,” Eriksen said, “If you corner them in a dark alley, I wouldn’t want to face them. They’re both fighters.”
Greiner, a sophomore, hasn’t pitched since March 12 but has been dominant in her own right.
The New Jersey native hasn’t allowed an earned run in 15 and 2/3 innings pitched since Feb. 24.
Her earned run average has dropped from 4.80 to 2.05 in that time span. She will make her first start for the Bulls (21-10) since March 9, when she threw a complete game shutout against Wagner.
Dartmouth is 8-5 in the midst of a Florida road trip and has faced several of the same teams that the Bulls have in the last few weeks.
Nunn hasn’t pitched since March 12 as well. She started against Quinnipiac and gave up three earned runs in two innings, a week after badly bruising her knee on a foul ball while batting. She’s been a reliable pitcher as freshman, posting an ERA that hovered around 2.00 until her last start.
The North Carolina native has struggled at the plate so far in her freshman campaign, where she is tied for the team lead in strikeouts in only 25 at-bats.
The Cornell Big Red are 6-7 but 4-3 in their last seven contests. They scored a total of 23 runs in three games on Sunday.