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Wolverines give Bulls shivers

During South Florida’s softball game Wednesday someone forgot to tell Mother Nature that the home team is supposed to have a home-field advantage.

During the Bulls’ doubleheader against Michigan, the temperature was a teeth-chattering 43 degrees and the Wolverines took advantage of the Bulls’ unfamiliarity with the weather.

The No. 10 Wolverines (10-3) defeated the Bulls (6-12-1) 8-0 in the first game and then 6-2.

“We’ve played in some brutal weather, but this isn’t even close to brutal weather,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “Trying to be the stalwart coach you say that it shouldn’t have any effect, but my kids are from the state of Florida, my pitching staff is from the state of Florida, we played a team that is from the Ice Age area.”

In the first game the only thing hot was Wolverine pitcher Marissa Young (5-2), who had 10 strikeouts, allowing only three hits.

The closest the Bulls came to scoring was in the third inning when Stephanie Roberts, after stealing two bases, was on third with two outs, but Courtney Lewellen struck out and was unable to capitalize.

The biggest offensive achievement of the game was when senior Ginny Georgantas hit a ball down the first base line bouncing off the bag in the fifth inning for her 200th career hit.In the second game, USF pitching allowed 11 hits and continued to struggle. The staff allowed 162 hits in 19 games and Niki Trowell is the lone pitcher with a victory.

“The biggest issue you have in athletics is that the lesson is being learned in experience,” Eriksen said. “You don’t teach and say “here you go.”You have to go out and learn your lesson while you’re getting experience.”

The mostly freshman pitching staff is having trouble this season getting ahead of the count.

“We were 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 the whole night,” Eriksen said. “We have to be 0-1; I don’t care who the hell the hitter is if you’re 2-0, I can guarantee you what’s coming.”

The Bulls’ offense revolved around Shelly Riker, who has eight steals this season, had three walks, stole three bases and scored both of the Bulls’ runs Wednesday.

“Shelly almost had a couple of records,” Eriksen said. “She almost had four walks in one game and you know I would have (sent) her for four steals in one game. She does that all year. She has a great eye at the plate.”

The Bulls will open conference play Saturday and Sunday when they host Houston. With only six non-conference wins, the Bulls might have only conference play to use as a way into the NCAA playoffs.

“It’s frustrating not being able to win and when we come out here and know that we can play better it’s very frustrating,” Riker said. “Sometimes you have bad nights.”

  • Bryan Fazio covers softball and can be reached at