Rough fifth inning sinks USF in South Bend
Published: Monday, May 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 14, 2012 01:05
One inning was all it took. In the span of just three outs, the USF softball team went from an upstart conference title contender to a disappointed team with a sudden end to their conference season.
In the Bulls’ Big East Tournament debut against DePaul on Thursday morning, a fateful fifth inning altered the course of the team’s season in a 6-0 loss.
An otherwise strong performance was marred by one frustrating inning, in a game that was a microcosm of USF’s conference season. After the Bulls (45-11,17-5) started 13-0 in conference play, a tough closing schedule forced the team to stumble to a 17-4 finish, which dropped them from first to fourth place in the conference.
In a game full of comparisons, Nevins recapped her regular season performance in the first round. The sophomore showed flashes of brilliance against the Blue Demons, carrying a no-hitter in the fourth. But, much like her season, she hit a rough patch in the home stretch.
Nevins dominated to start the regular season before a tough finish, including a loss at Louisville on April 18, when she pitched just 3.1 innings and
allowed five runs in a 9-0 loss in the second game of a double header. Nevins finished the regular season fifth in the country in ERA.
Though six runs crossed under her watch, Nevins was only credited with one earned run in the first round loss to DePaul. After a lead-off double, Lynsey Ciezki singled in the first run of the game and an infielder error loaded the bases. The Blue Demons hit two consecutive singles to bring the score to 5-0. Nevins’ final pitch, a wild pitch, scored the final run of the game.
After the loss, the Bulls will have to have short memories. They will play the rival UCF Knights in the Gainesville regional.
“You know, it’s funny,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “In 2006, we got to the Big East Tournament and lost in the first round to Pittsburgh, and then we won in the Regionals, so we’ll have to find the toughness in our hearts and our guts.”