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Groves leads Bulls to victory

By the time Holly Groves batted for the fifth time in Wednesday’s doubleheader, Wagner had learned its lesson. In a supreme sign of respect, the Seahawks intentionally walked Groves to load the bases.

Even with the bases loaded, they should have done it again in the third inning, as Groves drove in three more runs to cap a 9-0 victory, shortened to five innings by the eight-run mercy rule. The senior right fielder knocked in nine runs in the twin bill, going 4-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored.

“I bat fourth, so that’s my job,” Groves said. “I wouldn’t be able to do that if my teammates weren’t on base. Especially that last time, the bases were loaded, so they couldn’t (intentionally walk me).”

Groves’ day began when she accounted for four of USF’s five runs in its opening 5-0 victory. Her first at-bat saw Groves muscle out a two-out, two-run homer, her 10th of the season, in the bottom of the first. She added a RBI infield single in the third and a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Following a two-run double in the first of Game 2, the Seahawks (2-6) issued Groves her first intentional walk of the season in the second inning.

“Definitely, teams are going to try to not give her too many good pitches,” associate coach Stacey Heintz said, “but she’s very disciplined and capable of hitting well in all situations. If teams are willing to give us another runner, we’ll take it.”

With 52 RBI, Grove accounts for more than 25 percent of the team’s total score and has doubled her closest teammate.

“Her RBI count is amazing,” Heintz said. “She gets so focused in key situations.”

Wagner would give anything for one RBI, let alone nine. In four meetings with USF (31-7), the Seahawks haven’t scored. The Bulls beat Wagner 8-0 and 7-0 last year.

Leigh Ann Ellis allowed a hit and a walk in the opener, while throwing a complete game. The Bulls committed three errors but didn’t allow a Seahawk runner to third as Ellis struck out eight.