USF saves weekend with a win

In her first collegiate start, freshman Lindsey Richardson made sure the Bulls didn’t have a disappointing end to their opening weekend.

After losing the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader 12-8 to No. 3 Florida, USF bounced back behind Richardson, whose complete-game, 11-strikeout performance led to a 6-1 victory over Canisius in its final game of the Wilson-DeMarini tournament in Clearwater.

“I had a whole bunch of pitches working for me,” said Richardson, who surrendered only one earned run and didn’t walk a batter. “I had my defense working for me and I really appreciate that. All in all, a good day.”

After getting rained out Friday, USF split a doubleheader Saturday, beating Illinois State 4-3 in 10 innings and falling 5-1 to East Carolina.

On Sunday, No. 3 Florida, which reached the championship round in the College Softball World Series last season, scored eight runs in the first four innings and led 8-0 before the Bulls scored five times in the fifth. But the Gators scored three in the sixth and eased to victory.

The Bulls, however, jumped on Canisius early behind Richardson.

“Getting a ‘W’ after two losses in a row was huge,” said USF coach Ken Eriksen. “For (Lindsey) to come out and take command of that game in the first inning set a tone for our team. As a freshman, it’s bigger than you can imagine.”

USF committed three errors and went through three pitchers against Florida. Going 1-3 in the opening weekend would’ve been a tough pill to swallow, Richardson said.

“Coming after a loss like that, all we want to do is win,” she said. “We came back as a team.”

Richardson wasn’t the only USF standout this weekend. Senior Alison Savarese, the only Bull to homer in the tournament, went deep twice Sunday, including a grand slam against Florida.

The Bulls (2-2) were scheduled to face No. 13 Georgia Tech on Sunday, but it was pushed back and canceled. No make-up game is scheduled right now.