Softball drops close game in extra innings

GAINESVILLE – The USF softball team dropped its second close game in a row Wednesday when the Florida Gators (3-3) battled back from an early two-run deficit to defeat the Bulls 3-2 in extra innings.

After a pair of Gator singles put runners on first and second, junior Kasey Cash walked Lindsey Littlejohn to load the bases and set the stage for Florida freshman Kim Waleszonia to hit an RBI single to drive in the winning run in the eighth inning.

“We’re getting good pitching and we’re getting pretty decent, timely hitting, so I’m just waiting for it to turn,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “I’ve got a lot of patience with this team because they are so good.”

The Bulls (2-4) had an early lead in the top of the second inning when senior Krista Holle scored the first run on an RBI single by freshman Ashley Bullion.

USF added to its lead in the top of the third when senior Tiffany Stewart knocked the ball over the right-field fence for her first home run of the season to make the score 2-0.

The Gators got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when senior Lindsey Cameron hit her fourth home run of the season. Later that inning, junior Melissa Zick scored the tying run off an RBI single by Littlejohn.

In the bottom of the fifth, Bulls freshman pitcher Christi Ecks (1-2) came in to relieve starter Bree Spence (1-0). Spence pitched four innings in the contest, allowing two runs on four hits.

In the bottom of the eighth, Cash came into the game to relieve Ecks and allowed just one run on two hits and was credited with the loss.

After the game, Eriksen said his team is experiencing some bad luck.

“Well, I think we’re playing pretty good softball, we’ve just got a bad horseshoe in our pocket right now,” Eriksen said.

Florida’s Littlejohn, who pitched her first complete game, also earned her first win of the season. Littlejohn (1-2) threw 151 pitches in the game, allowing only two runs on four hits.

Despite the Bulls’ second consecutive loss after establishing an early lead, Eriksen feels that his team is playing solid softball this season and believes it is simply a matter of time before the wins start piling up.

“I think the biggest thing our young kids have to realize is that it’s a team in the process of a championship right now,” Eriksen said. “You have to experience the crap before you experience the cream, so to speak, and I think we’re doing that right now.”