Bulls in a must-win situation

With the USF softball team sitting in second place behind Louisville in Conference USA, the Bulls can’t afford to lose another game. USF will begin its final six C-USA games Saturday with a doubleheader against Houston (28-19, 7-8) at the USF Softball Complex, part of a three-game series against the Cougars.

The Bulls (47-8, 15-3) are one game behind the Cardinals, and in order for USF to reclaim the No. 1 seed, Louisville must lose two of its six remaining conference games.

Louisville beat USF in two of three games back in mid-March, meaning the Cards can afford to lose a conference game and still be crowned Conference USA champion. However, the Bulls are looking to put as much pressure on the Cardinals as they can by winning their remaining conference games.

“Our goal that was set a while back, was not to lose another game; there isn’t much pressure we can’t handle.” USF Associate Head Coach Stacey Heintz said. With the team’s focus solely being placed among its remaining games, Heintz said, “We don’t plan on watching what Louisville does in the next couple weeks. If we spend our time focusing on Louisville and not on ourselves, then it is going to be a complete distraction and we will miss what’s going on right here in front of us; we’ll wind up letting something pass us by.”

With the incident last weekend involving pitcher Leigh Ann Ellis, viewed as a possible distraction, the pride of the softball team and the camaraderie amongst the teammates hopes to be stronger.

“Our focus is placed solely on the remaining games. We’re going to get back on track, come out strong and hard and keep the intensity we’ve had all season,” Heintz said.

Ellis has been the ace the entire season and is a crucial piece to the USF softball team’s puzzle. She was suspended for the first game of this Saturday’s doubleheader against Houston. Although Ellis is the most valuable pitcher on the team, the Bulls are looking upon all of the players to continue their roles and maintain domination.

“We have 16 players, and we are going to rely on 16 players. All 16 have contributed so far, and every day there is another player in the limelight and that’s what makes us so good,” Heintz said.

The final three conference games take place the following weekend when the Bulls travel to DePaul (15-7-1, 10-5). Their remaining games are a doubleheader at UCF before finishing the season with a doubleheader at home against Stetson.