As the only switch hitter on the USF softball team, junior first baseman Carmela Liwag was the only Bull who even had a chance to achieve what she did in Saturday’s three-game series finale against Conference USA foe East Carolina.
Liwag hit a pair of home runs — one from each side of the plate — in the same game for the first time in her collegiate career, and finished 3-for-5 with a career-high six RBIs to propel the Bulls to an 11-3 victory against the Pirates at the ECU Softball Field.
The win gave the No. 18 Bulls (44-8, 12-3) their fourth consecutive C-USA series victory after taking two of three from the Pirates (38-13-1, 5-10).
After bringing home USF’s first run with an RBI double in the first, Liwag connected on a three-run shot — from the left side — in the second, giving the Bulls a 4-0 lead.
Liwag then closed the scoring in the seventh with a two-run home run — from the right side — over the left-center field wall. It was Liwag’s fourth home run of the season.
Senior pitcher Leigh Ann Ellis, who allowed two earned runs on seven hits while striking out nine in seven innings, notched her 30th win of the year. After setting the school record with 34 wins last season, this is the second consecutive season the left-handed hurler (30-4) has reached 30 wins. No other pitcher in USF history ever had more than 25.
Sarah Watson added her first homer of the season, a two-run shot, in Saturday’s finale.
The Bulls took the first game of a doubleheader Friday with a 6-3 victory behind a complete-game three-hitter from Ellis, who also struck out six.
Sophomore Krista Holle had three RBIs while sophomores Tiffany Stewart and Samantha Ray each added RBI singles.
However, USF dropped the second game of the doubleheader to the Pirates 2-1, ending a season-high 17 game winning streak.
Though the Bulls took the early lead on sophomore Christi Chapman’s RBI double in the first, the Pirates took the lead for good on Kate Manuse’s two-run double in the fourth.
USF threatened in the sixth with runners on first and second with one out, but senior Holly Groves struck out and Stewart flied out to end the inning.
Freshman pitcher Danielle Urbanik (11-3) suffered the loss after allowing two runs on five hits with five strikeouts in five innings.
USF now sits in second place in C-USA, one game behind Louisville, which took two of three games from USF and has won 10 in a row.
The Bulls, who have won 28 of their past 31 games, return to action Saturday for a three-game conference series against UAB at the USF Softball Complex.