The South Florida softball team played away from home for the first time this season over the weekend. Though the Bulls put up more hits than their opponents, they were outscored 15-22 and dropped three out of five games at the Hillenbrand Tournament in Tucson, Ariz.
Despite a disappointing performance in the tournament, USF ended the weekend on a positive note. The Bulls defeated the No. 24 Virginia Tech Hokies 6-1 to earn their second win over a ranked team this season.
USF got on the board first in the final game of the tournament when Courtney Mosch hit a double to center field that scored junior second baseman Britta Giddens from first base.
Runs kept coming for the Bulls as catcher Cat Olnick hit a home run into left field that scored Kit Dunbar and Mosch, giving the Bulls a 4-0 lead in the first inning.
“Cat Olnick’s home run hit allowed the team to settle into the groove and be confident that this is going to be a good game for us,” assistant coach Amber Wright said.
Sophomore shortstop Tara Toscano and junior second baseman Caitlin Schneider were credited with RBIs to give the Bulls two more runs to seal the win.
Opening day of the tournament proved to be a tough outing for the Bulls as they suffered losses to the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats and Iowa State University.
“There were a lot of good teams in Arizona that did a good job,” Wright said.
Wildcats pitcher Taryne Mowatt struck out 11 Bulls over four innings of work. Mosch gave up seven runs and sophomore Kristen Gordon gave up five in relief.
The only offense the Bulls could produce was a walk and a stolen base from Toscano. She was left on base as Mowatt struck out consecutive hitters in the fourth inning.
“Arizona came out and played like the defending national champions,” Wright said. “(Mowatt) was right on and their hitters were having a breakout game.”
Despite hits from seven different players and an RBI from sophomore third baseman Allison Savarese, the Bulls were unable to capitalize, losing 3-1 to Iowa State.
The Bulls’ first win of the weekend came against the University of Illinois-Chicago on Saturday. The Bulls had 11 hits and five runs in the game.
Mosch had a solid day at the plate and on the mound. On offense, she had two hits, three RBI and her second home run of the season. While on the mound, Mosch allowed eight hits and two unearned runs against the Flames.
“Mosch on the mound allows our team to have a lot of confidence. She’s able to control the game on the mound and she’s been very strong for us all season.” Wright said.
The Bulls had mixed emotions Sunday when they started the day with a season-high 12 hits against New Mexico State. The offensive production was not enough, however, as the Bulls could not get a win over the Aggies.
The game was tied 3-3 until Aggie catcher Stacey Lien hit a homerun off of a Gordon pitch in the seventh inning to defeat the Bulls in thrilling fashion.
“The team played very well this weekend, we just weren’t able to sneak out a couple more W’s,” Wright said.