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Big East battle in Tampa

SOFTBALL GAME TIMESt. John’s (13-15) at USF (25-12)When: Today, 4 p.m.Where: USF Softball FieldTV/Radio: None

Assistant USF softball coach Amber Wright said this week’s practices would focus on offense. After five days without a game, the Bulls will find out if their hard work will be enough to defeat their first Big East opponents of the season when they take on St. John’s University and Seton Hall University at the USF softball complex.

The Bulls (25-12) scored eight runs in the last six games, compared to 19 runs in six games during spring break.

“We’re hoping our kids relax, go out there and swing the bat like we’re capable of swinging the bat and be relentless,” coach Ken Eriksen said.

Eriksen said he believes that as long as the team keeps swinging at good pitches and stays persistent at hitting the ball hard, more runs will come.

St. John’s (13-15) comes into the weekend on a five-game winning streak while Seton Hall (10-13) is coming off of a 6-1 win against Marist College.

“Whether it’s Seton Hall or whether it’s St. John’s, the Big East is a tough conference,” Eriksen said. “The teams that play the most flawless softball are the teams that are going to have a chance to win.”

Freshman Capri Catalano received her first Big East Pitcher of the Week and is coming off consecutive wins, including a shutout against Canisius College.

Catalano is the second Bulls’ pitcher this year to be named conference pitcher of the week. Senior Courtney Mosch was the first.

Catalano leads the conference in pitching with a 0.77 ERA, 93 strikeouts and opposing batting average (.133).

St. John’s and Seton Hall also have conference honor roll players on their teams.

St. John’s junior first baseman Roxy Struble received Big East weekly honors after leading the team to victory.

Struble led the Red Storm to two come-from-behind victories against Seton Hall, hitting three RBI, two runs and a home run.

Seton Hall’s senior outfielder Jenna Best also received conference weekly honors for her hitting performance in a losing effort against St. John’s, in which she had two home runs and three RBI.