Explosive offense leads USF to doubleheader sweep

After a slow start, the Bulls offense exploded to sweep Maine in Tuesday’s doubleheader.

USF (13-10) was quiet at the plate until the fifth inning of game one, but then began a five-inning scoring spree that spanned two games. The Bulls had 24 hits in 11 innings.

Junior Janine Richardson led USF with three hits and four RBIs on the night.

“It was nice to see the batting averages get healthy tonight,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “We’ve got to have that middle of the lineup hitting. Richardson, (Kourtney) Salvarola and (Stephanie) Medina are carrying us with RBIs. For those five, six and seven slots to get hitting was real important.”

USF won an 8-4 shootout in the first game with the two teams combining for 23 hits. After a scoreless first inning, Maine scored one run in each of the next three, taking a 3-0 lead. The Bulls countered with runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

After scoring two in the fifth, the Bulls scored six runs in the sixth inning to put the game away. Maine tried to rally in the seventh, but scored only one run.

“We finally got over our Michigan hangover in the second half of game one,” Eriksen said.

Lindsey Richardson pitched 6.1 innings with four strikeouts and no walks to pick up her fifth win of the year.

“Lindsey really didn’t have any good stuff today, but she didn’t walk anybody,” Eriksen said. “If our pitchers aren’t going to walk anybody, then we’re not going to extend innings.”

USF brought its momentum into game two, needing just five innings to pick up a 9-1 win. The Bulls batted around in the first inning, scoring seven runs on six hits, and were aided by multiple mistakes from Maine. Brittany Bowles allowed only five hits in her complete-game victory, earning her second win of the season.

“When you win the first inning like we did tonight and knock in seven runs like we did, it’s about time,” Eriksen said. “It’s nice sometimes to just sit back in the dugout and watch the girls smile and have some fun.”

USF will host the Netherlands National Team tonight at 7 at the new on-campus stadium.