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Stadium unfinished, USF heads to Clearwater

With construction on its new stadium not yet completed, the USF softball season opens this weekend at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.

North Carolina State, Marshall, Long Island, Florida Gulf Coast and No. 5 Florida will compete against the Bulls in the three-day Wilson DeMarini Tournament Championship.

USF and newly appointed USA national team coach Ken Eriksen said he believes he has his lineup sorted and ready for its opening weekend of competition, though he is likely to use four different starting pitchers.

Freshman left-hander Sara Nevins, who won all-state softball Player of the Year last year at Pinellas Park High School, is likely to make her collegiate debut this weekend.

A trio of right-handers – junior Brittany Bowles, redshirt junior Capri Catalano and sophomore Lindsey Richar- dson- will join Nevins in a powerful platoon of pitchers at Eriksen’s disposal throughout the season.

“Any coach that tells you when you’re pitching strong, you get a great night’s sleep,” Eriksen said to the St. Petersburg Times. “And I am right now.”

Other than Nevins, three freshmen are expected to be regular starters for the Bulls this season. Kourtney Salvarola from Arnold, Md., is likely the everyday shortstop for Eriksen. Local products Ashli Goff from Sickles High School and Stephanie Medina from Chamberlain High School are expected to start in left field and at first base, respectively.

USF was supposed to play N.C. State in the season opener tonight, but that game was canceled for undisclosed reasons. USF will now open its season with a doubleheader against the Marshall Thundering Herd on Friday at 4 p.m. before playing Long Island at 6 p.m.

The Bulls also play twice Saturday beginning with Flor- ida Gulf Coast at 3 p.m. before facing N.C. State at 5 p.m.

A meeting with No. 5 Florida looms Sunday at 1 p.m. The Gators have qualified for the Women’s College World Series in each of the last three seasons.

All USF home games will be played in Clearwater until Feb. 24, when the Bulls open their new stadium with a game against Central Connecticut.