Bulls extend home streak with doubleheader sweep

With a 19-game home-wining streak on the line against visiting Elon, Kattrina Dowd’s at-bat in the bottom of the fifth in the second game of a doubleheader proved to be huge.

The score was tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth when a pair of Bulls got on base for Dowd. Elon pitcher Whitney Meeks tried to go inside but Dowd used quick hands and blasted the ball over the right-field wall.

“It was definitely a big lift,” associate head coach Stacey Heintz said. “We got a couple runners on, which is what we’ve done all season, and then Katrina came up and got a big hit. She had a great adjustment before that at-bat and crushed that ball.”

Dowd would get another RBI in the sixth inning with a single to give USF the 5-1 victory over the Phoenix.

With the win, USF extends its winning streak to 10 and its home-winning streak to 20. Danielle Urbanik was credited with the win for game two of the doubleheader. She gave up one run on four hits in five innings pitched.

“I thought the pitchers did a great job today,” Heintz said.

In game one, Bulls ace Leigh Ann Ellis got her 24th win of the season in an 11-0 win, pitching three scoreless innings. She gave up one hit and a walk and struck out five.

But it was the USF offense that was most impressive. The eight-run mercy rule ended the game after the top of the fifth with USF up 11-0.

In the Bulls’ four team at-bats they accumulated 11 runs on 13 hits including home runs by Holly Groves (12) and Tiffany Stewart (6) in the first inning. Groves’ blast ties the team record for homers she set last year.

“We came out in the first inning of the first game and got runs on the board right away, and established our grounds and took it from there,” Heintz said.

In the third, USF added four runs including a base-clearing triple by Stewart with the bases loaded. That was all the Bulls would need to end the game early in the fifth inning.