Softball enjoys first weekend at home

USF 11, SHU 2
USF 10, JU 1
SU 6, USF 4
USF 17, FAMU 1

The USF softball team used some hot bats and solid defense to improve its record to 8-6 at the USF Wilson Tournament this weekend.

“We’re getting some pretty consistent defense along with some pretty consistent pitching,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “Anytime you get that, it’s going to allow your offense to play well.”

Playing “well” might be an understatement, as the Bulls won three games by virtue of the eight-run mercy rule and took another game against No. 6 Stanford down to the final at-bat, losing 6-4. On Saturday, the team defeated Seton Hall 11-2, in a game where the USF hit four home runs as a team.

Freshman Bree Spence, who got the start against the Pirates, pitched five innings and gave up two runs to gain her second win of the season. After giving up a home run to Seton Hall’s Katie Pierce in the top of the third, Spence came to knock a pinch-hit grand slam. In the sixth, junior Krista Holle hit a two-run shot off the Pirates’ Maura Lund, and freshman Laura Wolf came in to seal it with a two-run dinger of her own that ended the game because of the eight-run mercy rule.

Later on Saturday, the Bulls clinched their third-straight victory decided by the eight-run rule, as they routed the Jacksonville Dolphins 10-1.

Danielle Urbanik (3-1) was the winning pitcher and went five innings and allowed only two hits and one run. Spence followed up her performance from earlier in the day by hitting the second home run of her career with a two-run shot in the third. Junior shortstop Christie Chapman, who went 2-3 with a walk, also homered in the third inning.

On Sunday, the Bulls lost a hard fought game to the No. 6 Stanford Cardinal, 6-4.

Eriksen chose freshman Spence to make her fifth start of her career against the Cardinal.

“Bree is finding herself right now and trying to get comfortable out there on the mound,” Eriksen said. “I’ve put her in some really tough ball games.”

Spence battled early and went 3 1/3, giving up six hits and three earned runs. Down 4-0 in the fourth, USF fought to within one run, on the strength of a three-run home run from Chapman. Stanford, though, would never relinquish the lead, adding runs in the fifth and seventh and taking the ball game 6-4.

In the second game of its Sunday doubleheader, USF went off offensively on Florida A&M, 17-1, making it the Bull’s fourth eight-run mercy rule win of the season.

Kasey Cash (3-2) earned her third win of the season, going five innings before the game was called due to the eight-run rule. Holle led the Bulls with five RBI in the game, and ten different USF players touched home base.

The Bulls play their final game of the Wilson tournament against Hofstra today at 4.