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Game over: Softball season ends in Gainesville

The South Florida pitching staff has been a stable element of the softball team this season, holding opponents to two runs or less in 34 of 44 games won this season. However, the Bulls were on the receiving end of a solid pitching staff Saturday, and were held to just two runs in a 9-2 loss to Georgia Tech in the NCAA regional playoffs Saturday.

Just one week after losing to DePaul as the Big East Championship’s No. 1 seed, the Bulls had a second chance at a championship. This time, it began in Gainesville with the NCAA regionals against Central Florida.

The Knights defeated the Bulls 3-2 on Friday. Despite the loss, the Bulls had an opportunity to extend their postseason with a win against Georgia Tech, which the Bulls defeated 1-0 earlier this season.

The Bulls were 8-1 against UCF all-time and 15-2 against Georgia Tech before they met in the regionals.

“This was a tough loss to a tough season,” coach Ken Eriksen said in a press release. “We’ve learned a lot over the last year and we’re ready to build upon it.”

Senior Courtney Mosch and sophomore Kristen Gordon pitched for the Bulls. Both were able to strike out five hitters but together, gave up 10 hits and nine runs to the Yellow Jackets.

Despite the early exit, the 2008 season was not a disappointment for the Bulls. After securing the regular season title, USF Softball became the first team to win a regular-season championship since the University joined the Big East.

Freshman Capri Catalano received Rookie of the Year honors in the conference, and also broke the school freshman record with six saves, previously held by teammates Cristi Ecks (Jr.) and Kristen Gordon (So.), who each had five saves their freshman year.

Seniors Mosch, center fielder Aya Nakajima, left fielder Kit Dunbar and catcher Laura Wolf played their final game in Bulls uniforms Saturday.

Mosch received Big East honors four times this season, and Dunbar finished the season second in the conference in hits (71). Dunbar was also selected to the All-Big East first team along with junior second baseman Britta Giddens.

Nakajima and Wolf finished the season with a combined 44 hits and 16 RBIs this season.

“These four seniors have set a tone of class, character and integrity both on and off the field,” Eriksen said in a press release. “If I were an underclassman, I would aspire to be like these four have been for the game of softball and the title of student-athlete.”