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Softball looks to stop five-game skid

Despite being on its worst stretch of the season, the USF softball team is full of optimism as it approaches the weekend.

The Bulls (28-18, 7-7), riding out a five-game losing skid, travel to play a pair of doubleheaders against the St. John’s Red Storm (21-16, 8-6) on Saturday and the Seton Hall Pirates (18-20-1, 6-8) on Sunday.

“We are really mentally excited about this weekend,” said USF coach Ken Eriksen. “We have spent a lot of time reflecting on what we have done correctly and our goal this weekend is to play as perfectly as possible.”

USF has not won a game since March 28, which was 2-1 win over Villanova. During their losing streak, the Bulls have been swept by Notre Dame and DePaul.

“We come out strong at the beginning of games, but we seem to lose focus during the middle part of games,” said freshman center fielder Janine Richardson. “We’ve been hitting and fielding well, but we just haven’t been able to put it all together.”

Eriksen said it will be important for the Bulls to not get frustrated in their performances.

“This week we have to be aggressive and take advantage of our own opportunities,” he said. “We did that against DePaul, but it just wasn’t our day. We’re hoping to get the bad horseshoe out of our pocket and get some luck. Our main goal this week is to finish the deal.”

Despite a tough stretch, pitching has been a strong point for USF. The Bulls rank second in the Big East with 300 strikeouts and tied for first with seven saves. Junior Kristen Gordon, who holds a 1.97 ERA, said the team is hoping to get back to winning.

 “We’re very eager to go out and win some games this weekend,” she said. “We did some good things last weekend but we were unable to come out on top. We are on the verge of reaching our potential and it’s important for us to go out and win some games this weekend.”

The Bulls are also looking to move up in the Big East. USF sits in seventh place, one game ahead of ninth-place Seton Hall.

“We’re hoping to improve our position in the conference,” Gordon said. “We’re athletes and we like to win. We know we need to win some games because we’re not putting ourselves in a good position for postseason play. The bottom line is that we need to win these games.”