Bulls sweep doubleheader

The success for the USF softball team continues against the Sunshine State.

The Bulls (36-10, 6-3 in Conference USA) improved to 6-1 against Florida opponents with 3-0 and 10-1 wins versus Jacksonville (16-22, 5-7 in the Atlantic Sun) Wednesday.

USF has defeated Jacksonville five times this year and notched a victory against Florida Atlantic. Its lone loss came at Florida Feb. 7. The Bulls have outscored the Dolphins 25-1 this year.

The Bulls got off to a fast start in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Carmela Liwag singled to right center field.

Cleanup hitter Courtney Lewellen knocked Liwag home with her ninth double of the year, a shot to right center. In the second frame, Renee Oursler tripled off pitcher Katie Dobson with one out.

After a Krista Holle walk and a Samantha Ray single, Kattrina Dowd fouled out to deep left field. The sacrifice fly enabled Oursler to tag up to make it 2-0.

Junior pitcher Leigh Ann Ellis took the mound in her 25th start of the year. Mixing a repertoire of off-speed and cut fastballs. Ellis struck out five batters en route to her 19th victory. The five strikeouts increased her school record to 196 for the season.

In the nightcap, the Dolphins were no match in the 10-1 drubbing, shortened to five innings because of the eight-run mercy rule. Liwag led the Bulls with three hits, including an RBI triple and two-run home run.

Again, USF started quickly in the bottom of the first, scoring two runs off Liwag’s RBI triple and a sacrifice fly by Lewellen. In the second and third innings, USF put up eight runs.

Liwag again provided the heroics with a two-run home run in the second inning, while she and Rachel Rosenbaum hit RBI singles in the third.

Freshman pitcher Nicole Christensen rebounded with her fourth win. She held the Dolphins to two hits and one run, striking out four.

USF next plays Saturday, hosting Charlotte in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.

Thomas Carrigan covers USF softball and can be reached at oraclethomas@yahoo.com