Bulls split a pair at home tournament

The USF women’s softball team split two games after they originally planned on playing three this weekend.

A rainout Saturday against Michigan State forced USF to make the game up Sunday morning, which in turn canceled USF’s scheduled game against Florida. Tied at five during the top of the third inning, the game was canceled due to rain and Sunday morning the Spartans pulled ahead of the Bulls, winning 10-5.

“Hitting did not go right for us,” said associate head coach Stacey Heintz. “We were not good at the plate, we did not get the ball on the ground — too many pop ups. If you have too many pop ups, the momentum goes the other way.”

Senior Leigh Ann Ellis pitched the entire game against the Spartans, allowing 10 runs and 10 hits while walking five batters. Ellis moved to 5-1 on the season.

Though USF’s batters did not rest in its second game Sunday against Jacksonville, it was defense that won the game for the Bulls. After six innings with freshman Danielle Urbanik on the mound and freshman Kasey Cash closing out the game, the Bulls shut out the Dolphins 5-0. Although Urbanik gave up only four hits throughout the game, Heintz felt more comfortable having Cash wrap things up.

“There were two lefties coming up and Kasey Cash is a great pitcher, and we felt like she could put a good close on it, and that’s what she did,” Heintz said.

Even though she did not finish the game, Urbanik has been consistent so far this season. While being the second most active pitcher behind Ellis, starting four games, Urbanik is 3-0 on the season with an ERA of 2.55.

“Danielle has done a great job so far, and she keeps learning and getting better,” Heintz said.

The offense woke up for USF after the loss to Michigan State; the Bulls scored five runs off nine hits, while striking out only three times against Jacksonville. Although Heintz heavily credited the defense, she said the offense showed marked improvement.

“I think the girls made great adjustments in their swings, working on getting the ball on the ground, hitting hard instead of trying to win the game in one swing (and) getting the ball in play and making the defense move,” Heintz said.

Junior Carmela Liwag collected four hits in eight plate appearances during the weekend, while also driving in her fifth RBI of the season Sunday against Jacksonville.

USF will finish the USF-Wilson Tournament today when they play Hofstra at 3 p.m. at the USF softball complex. The canceled game against Florida will possibly be made up later in the season.