As the old saying goes, good pitching always beats good hitting.
In the case of the USF softball team, it seems it is doing a little bit of both this year.
The Bulls’ offense has compiled a season batting average of .284, while three hitters are batting .396 or better. Seniors Courtney Lewellen and Renee Oursler have led the firepower, carrying the team to an 11-4 record.
Lewellen is batting a team-leading .465 with 20 hits and 12 RBI. Lewellen, the cleanup hitter, has also shown patience at the plate with 11 walks. Oursler, coming off a weekend of seven RBI, is batting .429 with 15 hits and 12 RBI, while freshman Kattrina Dowd continues to terrorize pitchers in the leadoff role, batting .396 with 19 hits and 12 runs scored.
The team will count on those three players if the No. 30 Bulls hope to extend their season-best, four-game winning streak.
For the third consecutive weekend, the Bulls will be playing five games in three days. USF welcomes Radford, Maryland, Hofstra, Indiana and Seton Hall in the USF-Best Western Tournament.
Despite Radford’s 18-41 record in 2002, USF coach Ken Eriksen said he and his team will not be looking past the Highlanders.
“We’re looking forward to Radford in the first game on Friday,” Eriksen said. “We’re not looking too far past that. We’re prepared to play Seton Hall, Maryland, Hofstra and Indiana, so right now it’s geared towards getting off on the right foot against Radford and letting our momentum carry on.
Eriksen also likes the way his team is playing and will not be making any significant hitting or pitching changes.
“Not at all, we’re status quo,” Eriksen said. “30th in the country, I think we’ll stay where we’re at right now, and we’re making a move.”
Seton Hall opens its season this weekend. The Pirates went 29-17 last year, led by sophomore
Laura Taylor. Taylor, a first-team Big East selection, stroked 18 home runs with 37 RBIs for a .331 batting average. She also led the nation last year in home runs per game with .40, fifth-highest in Division I history.
Indiana comes in 3-2, after a 13-31-1 campaign in 2002. Senior Stormy Hanson is batting .625 with one home run and six RBI. Junior pitcher Heather Stillians leads the team with a 2-1 record and 3.00 ERA.
USF leads the all-time series against Maryland, by an 8-3 margin. Finishing with a 31-31 record in 2002, the Terrapins went 2-2 last weekend at the University of Georgia tournament, advancing to the championship game against No. 13 Georgia, that was canceled due to rain.