SOFTBALL GAME TIME
When: Today, 2 and 4 p.m.Where: USF Softball Complex
The story: The women’s softball team is in unfamiliar territory with its No. 22 ranking and will be looking to defend it this weekend when the Bulls play the University of Florida.
Coach Ken Eriksen realizes there is a permanent bulls-eye on the backs of his players’ jerseys and is relaying that message to his team.
“We are not sneaking up on anyone anymore,” Eriksen said. “We are seeing everyone’s No. 1 pitcher and No. 1 lineup.”
No. 19 Florida comes into town with a 4-1 record after a four-game tournament in Arizona. The Gators will pitch Stacey Nelson, who is 3-1 with 22 strikeouts.
Eriksen said USF needs more consistency at the plate and on the mound after losing two games by one run each over the weekend. Danielle Urbanik was a bright spot at the plate with two home runs, six RBIs and a .455 batting average.
“I think she is in a good place and she’s comfortable right now,” Eriksen said. “She’s playing every day, and the more at-bats she gets, the more comfortable she will be.”
Sophomore pitcher Cristi Ecks had a successful weekend on the mound with two victories – one in relief and one as a starter. Another pitcher who proved her worth was freshman Kristen Gordon. Gordon pitched 8 2/3 innings of relief allowing four hits and no runs.
Eriksen is trying to feel out his pitching staff and figure out which pitcher fits in different spots during a game. Gordon is making a strong case for the reliever position.
“We’re trying to define our roles on the team right now,” Eriksen said. “(Gordon’s) trying to find herself in a very comfortable situation, and she will get there.”