After 13 days off, USF ready to get back on the field

It’s been a while since the Bulls have taken the field.

Coming off a canceled series against Syracuse, the USF softball team is on a 13-day layoff.

However, the Bulls (28-16, 7-5) will take the field this weekend when they face No. 22 DePaul (20-8, 8-1) on Saturday at Cacciatore Stadium.

“I feel like it’s January again,” said coach Ken Eriksen. “It’s important for us to get back into game mode and get our game timing down better than we have in the past.”

Eriksen said, however, that the days off have helped the team, including resting catcher Cat Olnick, who’s nursing an ankle injury, and first baseman Ashley Bullion, who has an injured foot.

“The break has allowed us to focus on some of the external things around here, such as the team’s studies,” Eriksen said. “However, as far as softball goes, it’s allowed us to become fully healthy, and we’re certainly going to be fresh on Saturday.”

USF is 1-3 over the last four games, but junior third baseman Alison Savarese said the break has allowed the team to mentally prepare themselves for DePaul.

The Blue Demons have wins over Michigan, Fresno State and Illinois this season.

“I believe we have had an ample amount of time to get focused,” she said. “We know that we have to pull it all together this weekend and we’re more mentally prepared than we have been in the past.”

Both USF and DePaul have defeated Florida Gulf Coast and Massachusetts this year. 

This weekend will be the first time the two teams have met since DePaul’s 4-1 victory over USF in last year’s Big East tournament championship game. Eriksen said the Bulls will take the same approach into this game and hope to capitalize on the Blue Demons’ mistakes.

“As we always do, we will take it pitch by pitch,” he said. “We had our opportunities in that game, but we had one bad pitch situation where they found a hole. It’s going to come down to who gets the most breaks and who makes the least mistakes. We have a team that’s capable of capitalizing on mistakes, and we have to do that in this game.”