Golden sweep for softball

The USF softball team swept the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in its first conference series on the road with a dominating effort on offense. The Bulls (25-15, 4-2 C-USA) won each game by seven or more runs and scored 30 runs in three games against the Eagles.

The Bulls’ offensive attack started in the first game as they jumped out to an early lead that set the tone for the whole series.

In the top of the first, the Bulls scored five runs on four hits against Southern Miss (17-18, 5-4 C-USA), which included a two-run home run to right field by Tiffany Stewart.

“I think we came out to play, we were focused right from the first inning on Friday and it just channeled over,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “I think that Southern Miss was a little shell-shocked right from the get-go.”

Four players had more than two hits in the game and both Stewart and Krista Holle had four hits each. Stewart also scored two runs and drove in five more in the game.

Although the Eagles fought back to within one run, the Bulls offense ignited again, scoring six runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh for the 13-4 victory.USF continued their offensive onslaught of Southern Miss in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader by winning 9-1 in five innings.

USF junior Kasey Cash started on the mound and pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up only one run. Freshman Carly Griffin went 3-for-3, scoring two runs and driving in two more.

After junior pitcher Nicole Christensen struck out the last two batters in the fifth inning, the game was called due to the eight-run mercy rule.

But the Bulls would show no more mercy to the Eagles, beating them 8-1 in the final game of the series.

Freshman Bree Spence (11-6) started for the Bulls, going five innings and giving up only one run to earn her second win of the series. Griffin continued her good play, going 2-for-4 with a home run.

Southern Miss — the defending Conference USA champion — was playing good softball coming into the game, sitting atop the standings with a 5-1 record. But the Bulls quickly changed that, solidly handling the Eagles, and with the three-game sweep, moved into third place in the conference standings.

“To come into their home park and not just beat them but basically dominate them all weekend long,” Eriksen said, “I think this should send a message to our team that we can play with anybody in our conference, and we can play with anybody in the country.”