USF heads to Clearwater for weekend

Entering this weekend, USF softball coach Ken Eriksen said the Bulls haven’t played to their potential yet.

Coming off a doubleheader with Maine on Tuesday, the Bulls (13-9) will try to reach that potential when they host the Under Armour Invitational at the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex in Clearwater.

“Right now, we can’t take any games for granted,” Eriksen said. “We have played lots of games this season that we’ve had a chance to win but were unable to capitalize on the little things.”

Sixteen teams will play in this weekend’s tournament, split into four pools of four teams each. USF will be in Pool A with Virginia Tech, Fordham and the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. The Bulls face the Hokies at 4 p.m. Friday.

Virginia Tech (5-10) appeared in the Women’s College World Series in 2008, making it the third team the Bulls have faced this season to do so.

The Hokies have struggled this year, beginning the season 2-7, but senior second baseman Britta Giddens said the Bulls won’t be focusing much on their opponents.

“(Eriksen’s) philosophy is to not play the name game,” she said. “We can’t worry about who we’re playing. We can only worry about how we play.”

USF will play Fordham (5-6) on Friday at 6 p.m. and the Mountain Hawks on Saturday at 1 p.m. Lehigh (7-3) made it to the NCAA tournament last season. The Bulls’ opponents for the remainder of the weekend will determine on their record leaving pool play.

The tournament also hosts teams including N.C. State, Villanova, Connecticut and Western Michigan. However, Eriksen said he wants the Bulls to worry about themselves.

“I think that recently our biggest opponent has been us,” he said. “Our main priority right now is this team, and we’re not worried about Virginia Tech or any of the other teams. In order to play good softball, we have to worry about ourselves and let everything else fall into place.”