Softball travels to play NCAA champions

The USF softball team gears up for a busy weekend as it plays five different teams during the season’s first road trip. The Bulls’ first challenge will be against the two-time defending national champion Arizona Wildcats.

The Bulls (8-5) will travel to Tucson, Ariz., for the Hillenbrand Invitational. The lineup includes, nationally ranked opponents No. 3 Arizona and No. 24 Virginia Tech according to USA Today.

The Wildcats (6-4) are coming off impressive wins against No. 9 Louisiana State University and No.8 Baylor University.

Senior pitcher Taryne Mowatt accounted for 12 strikeouts against LSU in the 7-4 win. Freshman pitcher Lindsey Sisk has a 0.60 earned run average for the season, and tossed her second career shutout against Baylor.

The Bulls have yet to defeat the Wildcats in the eight times the teams have met.

The Bulls are 1-1 against ranked opponents this season and have a chance to add Arizona and Virginia Tech to their win column.

The Bulls’ final game of the weekend will be against Virginia Tech (9-4). This is the first time since 2002 that the Bulls and Hokies will compete.

Senior All-American Angela Tincher leads the Virginia Tech pitching staff. Tincher led the nation in earned run average her junior year. Last week, Tincher allowed just two hits, striking out 18 hitters in her team’s win against Rider University.

The Bulls will also face Iowa State University, University of Illinois-Chicago and New Mexico State University.

Iowa State is on an eight-game winning streak, off to its best 12-game start in school history at 11-1. Illinois-Chicago, however, has won only two games this year.

New Mexico State first baseman Hoku Nohara was named Western Athletic conference hitter of the week. Nohara hit two homeruns, a pair of triples and a double in the Troy Cox Classic.

For the second consecutive week, Bulls pitcher Courtney Mosch received Big East Conference honors as Pitcher of the Week. Mosch, along with Cristi Ecks and Capri Catalano, led the Bulls to a 10-inning no-hitter against the Hofstra Pride in the Louisville Slugger Tournament and held the top three spots in the conference for opposing batter averages this season.

The five-game tournament begins today against Arizona.