Ups and downs for softball team

Heavy rains plagued the area, forcing a late start to the Adidas Tournament, but it could not stop the USF softball team (10-8) from taking two of three games.

However, the Bulls only faced three schools: Wagner, Illinois and Temple. USF was supposed to take on Hofstra and Rhode Island on Sunday, but more rain canceled those match-ups and they have yet to rescheduled.

The weather caused uncertainty throughout the tournament all weekend, but it also tested the focus of the team.

“The best thing you do is to try to think about some other things and not worry about anything until you get to about an hour before the game,” coach Ken Eriksen said.

Late Friday night, the Bulls defeated Wagner (0-2), 9-0. The game was scoreless through four innings, until the top of the fifth inning when USF scored seven runs on seven hits and three errors by Wagner. Sophomore Alycia LePage came to the plate twice in the inning, leading off with a double and bringing in the seventh and final run of the inning with a single to left field.

In the sixth inning, freshman Bree Spence hit a two-run home run to make the score 9-0. Spence also got the win by pitching two innings in relief of sophomore Kasey Cash, who started on the mound. Spence, Cash and junior pitcher Nicole Christensen combined for seven strikeouts and allowed only six hits in the shutout of Wagner that was called in the sixth due to the eight-run mercy rule.

On Saturday, the Bulls were on the other end of the eight-run rule when they were defeated by Illinois, 16-6, in five innings.

The Fighting Illini took the early lead with six runs in the first inning and never let up, scoring in every inning.

Down 16-1 in the bottom of the fifth, the Bulls put five runs on Illinois. Spence and junior catcher Sarah Watson both hit home runs in the rally, which was enough to avoid their worst defeat ever, but not enough to suffer their first loss by the eight-run mercy rule.

Later on Saturday, USF bounced back to beat Temple (3-8), 10-2.

The Bulls struck first in the third inning with an RBI double from Spence to score junior Samantha Ray. Spence would cross the plate after a Krista Holle double, giving the Bulls the lead, 2-0.

In the bottom of the third, the Owls made the score 2-1 with a single from Brittany Burks that scored Temple senior Melissa McCartney from second. But that would be as close as Temple would get as the Bulls scored eight more runs, three of which came in the seventh inning. Spence (4-3) got the win, allowing only one run in five innings. Sophomore Danielle Urbanik and Holle each had two doubles in the game.

Despite giving up a mercy rule loss, Eriksen has been happy with the run production of his team.

“Offensively, we’re doing pretty darn good. We’re almost averaging six runs a ball game right now,” Eriksen said. “I’m very happy with our aggressiveness at the plate.”