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Softball drops four of five games

The USF softball team (11-11) found itself searching for runs over the weekend as it was outscored 7-23 during the University of Arizona Tournament.

The Bulls lost four of five during their first road tournament of the season, including a 10-0 mercy rule loss to the No. 1-ranked Arizona Wildcats.

Coach Ken Eriksen praised the play of his pitching staff during the tournament, but felt that his team lacked the offensive production required to compete.

“Looks like we’re at a little bit of a power outage as far as our offense is concerned right now,” Eriksen said. “I like the way the pitching staff is throwing. Bree (Spence) and Christi Ecks continue to be very, very competitive.”

Spence (4-4) suffered her first loss of the season Friday when the Bulls fell 2-1 to Wichita State (10-6). The sophomore allowed only two runs on five hits in the contest, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the Bulls’ lack of offense, which provided only two hits and one run.

For the Bulls, the high point of the tourney came during the second game when freshman Ecks (5-5) took the mound and helped lead USF to a 2-1 victory over Sam Houston State.

The Bulls were hoping to get another win on Saturday morning against Long Beach State knowing that they would play No. 1 Arizona that night, but the 49ers dashed those hopes, defeating USF 7-4. Senior Nicole Christensen (0-1) was credited with the loss in a game in which only three of the seven runs scored against the Bulls were earned.

The excitement level was high for the Bulls on Saturday night going into the game against the Wildcats in their home stadium.

“I was excited, you know?” Spence said. “None of us were nervous. It was just fun. We went out there and got to see (a No. 1-ranked team). They were extremely fast, too, so we learned a lot from that and it was fun.”

The Wildcats proved too fast for the Bulls as Arizona dominated USF in every facet of the game. The Wildcats scored 10 runs in the contest, including five in the fourth inning, to secure the 10-0 mercy-rule victory. Arizona sophomore Taryne Mowatt (9-1) pitched a one-hitter in the win, while Spence pitched two and two-thirds innings and was credited with the loss after allowing five runs on six hits.

The Bulls returned to the field Sunday and fell to Sam Houston State 3-0 in their final game of the tournament. Spence was credited with the loss in a game in which the Bulls left seven runners on base and managed only four hits.

“I don’t think that we’re creating our own breaks right now, to tell you the truth,” Eriksen said. “I think there needs to be, probably, some self-reassessment of commitment to team play and team philosophy right now. I really think we’re struggling with that type of identity.”