USF 13, TU 5 F/6
The USF softball team (16-12) performed in the clutch to win its last game of the Louisville Slugger Tournament on Tuesday.
Junior Christie Chapman hit the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth in the midst of a 10-run rally that helped the Bulls come back and beat Temple (5-11) 13-5 in six innings.
The team found itself down 5-3 to the Owls heading into the top of the sixth. With two outs and two on base, Tiffany Stewart hit a single up the middle to score Krista Holle from second. Freshman Bree Spence came in to pinch-hit and drove a single into left field that tied the game.
Next up was Chapman, who hit a triple to right field that put the Bulls up 7-5.
“She’s a clutch hitter,” said coach Ken Eriksen, who, after the game, vowed not to shave off his beard until his team plays flawless softball. “What she did at the Florida game and what she did today; she comes through.”
Chapman’s triple was her tenth extra-base hit of the year. She leads the team and already has four home runs this season, one more than she had all of last year.
The second baseman claims her new surge in power is due to her more aggressive nature at the plate.
“I’m trying to work ahead in the counts,” said Chapman, who went 1-for-4 with two RBI on Tuesday. “If I see a good pitch, I try to hit it hard.”
When the dust finally settled, the Bulls had added six more runs. USF tallied ten runs on nine hits as six batters came to the plate twice in the sixth inning.
Tiffany Stewart also had two singles, going 3-for-4 with three RBI. Nicole Christensen got the final three outs — striking out two batters and getting Temple’s Brittany Burks to ground out to first — to give the Bulls the victory by virtue of the eight-run mercy rule. Chistensen (2-0) went four and two-thirds innings in relief of Kasey Cash. The junior pitcher struck out six batters to earn her second win in as many outings. Christensen’s pitching, Eriksen said, was the key to the Bulls closing out the last two wins in the tournament.
“She gave our pitching staff the needed break again, and that’s huge,” Ericksen said.