The USF softball team’s young pitching staff struggled in a doubleheader Tuesday night against the University of Florida (25-26).
After a 10-day break from competition, the Bulls (19-25-1) dropped both games 7-4 and 8-0 and gave up three home runs.USF coach Ken Eriksen said it would be easy to blame the losses on the extended break, but there are other factors the team needs to improve.
“We are going through some growing pains right now with a young pitching staff,” Eriksen said. “We went out there winning the first game, but we weren’t killers.”
In the second game it didn’t take long for the Gators to get ahead of the Bulls. In the first inning, Gators third baseman Jennifer Mossadeghi hit a three-run home run, her second homer for the night, off freshman Niki Trowell.
Mossadeghi knocked the ball over the left-field fence, the same spot as her homer in the first game.
In the second inning, Trowell was replaced by Katie Dugger, who later gave up another home run to the Gators. The inning ended with Gail Callinan pitching for the Bulls and the score 8-0 in favor of the Gators.
In the fifth inning, after Eriksen used all his pitchers, he put in second baseman Ginny Georgantas.
“That sends a message of respect in how competitive a pitching staff needs to be,” Eriksen said.
“And (Georgantas) proved that tonight. She went after the batters.”
Georgantas, who is now a senior, said she hasn’t pitched for USF since her sophomore year, but she felt comfortable pitching for the team.
“I haven’t even practiced in three years,” Georgantas said. “I was just trying to pitch them low so they could hit grounders.”Georgantas pitched one inning with no hits.
In the first game the Bulls were ahead 4-0, until the sixth inning when the Gators started connecting their bats with the ball.
In the last inning, Mossadeghi hit a homer for UF. Pitcher Corin Tassio was then replaced by Trowell to finish the game, and the Gators brought in two more runners to lead 7-4.
The Bulls came back to offense leaving two runners on base and ending the game with two strikeouts.
“We threw that one out the window,” Eriksen said. “We can’t get behind the batters. This is not high school softball anymore.”Eriksen said this weekend is important the team wins, since they are facing Conference USA rival UAB.
“If we don’t win this weekend, we’re in trouble,” Eriksen said. “The next two days I’m going to think about what I need to do to get our team focused.”