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A weird win

No. 24 USF 2 | Hofstra 0

Junior rightfielder Courtney Mosch hit a game-winning two-run home run Monday. But she never touched home plate.

With two runners on and no outs, Mosch sent a 2-0 fastball over the left-field fence to give the Bulls a 2-0 victory over Hofstra at the USF Softball Field on the final day of the USF Wilson Tournament. But Mosch’s run didn’t count because she passed pinch runner Melissa Rosas rounding first base and was called out.

According to rule 12-9C in the 2007 NCAA Rules and Interpretations, in a situation “with fewer than two outs, if a batter, while running the bases after a home run outside the playing field, passes a preceding runner, the batter is out, but all preceding runners score.”

“I don’t even know what to say about it, I’m just happy that the run scored and we could end the game,” Mosch said. “I was just trying to put the ball in play and get Britta (Giddens) home any way possible.”

Coach Ken Eriksen has had his share of strange games. This is just another weird victory to add to his list.

“We have won a game on an illegal pitch, and we won a game where the two runners clapped hands between the base paths but didn’t pass the other runner,” Eriksen said. “I’ve seen it all, but this is a little different, and thank goodness it resulted in a win.”

Giddens led off the bottom of the seventh with a double to center field, and Danielle Urbanik reached base on an infield single. That set up Mosch’s late-game heroics.

The crazy ending took away from a solid pitching performance by sophomore Cristi Ecks. Ecks, who improved to 4-1 with the win, had a career-high 13 strikeouts and took sole possession of eighth place on the all-time list with 263, passing Jill Klein.

“I felt really good today, and a strikeout is almost a mistake because I want the hitter to hit the ball on the ground,” Ecks said. “So when they strike out, it’s a plus because it’s not what I was going for.”

Ecks scattered nine hits over seven innings in the shutout victory, working out of trouble most of the game. Ecks struggled in the first three innings as the Pride (3-2) put runners in scoring position in all three innings.

Ecks, who claims she is a groundball pitcher, used the strikeout to end two of Hofstra’s three scoring threats. Ecks struck out three consecutive batters in the first inning after the first two reached base, and Laura Jaxheimer struck out in the third.

“I trust my defense when I get into situations like that (with runners in scoring position),” Ecks said. “I just try to get right after the hitter and try not worry about the runners on base.”

The victory gave the Bulls (7-5) a 4-1 record for the tournament, finishing in second place. Washington, ranked No. 15 in the NFCA poll, went undefeated in the tournament capturing the top spot.

In a battle of Top 25 teams Sunday, the Huskies slipped past USF 1-0 behind a 20-strikeout performance from sophomore starter Danielle Lawrie. USF ran into a familiar problem against the Huskies, leaving 10 runners on base.

“We looked at 27 strikes right down the middle against Washington, and we can do that at this level,” Eriksen said. “That was uncharacteristic for us, and we just didn’t put the ball in play when we had to.”

USF’s staff had a successful tournament allowing six runs during the five-game, three-day event. In wins over East Tennessee State and Florida A&M, the Bulls combined to score 21 runs and got a 2-0 victory over Wichita State.