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Bulls lose winning streak, take series

The USF softball team’s 10-game win streak ended, but the Bulls still managed to take two of three games against Seton Hall in New Jersey.

USF experienced an up-and-down weekend, seeing its winning streak halted with a 3-1 loss in the first game Friday before setting a USF record by scoring 17 runs in a Big East game in the rubber match.

The Bulls combined to outscore the Pirates 25-0 in the final two games of the series. Seton Hall’s series-opening win was its first in conference play this season, breaking an 11-game losing streak.

“I thought we played hard (in game one), we just ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard,” coach Ken Eriksen said. “We were very resilient. We didn’t change a thing for games two and three and continued to play the softball we have been playing.”

With the lineup struggling to put hits together in the scoreless series opener, Erin Bly came off the USF bench and provided a pinch-hit single to score Janine Richardson for a 1-0 lead. Lindsey Richardson pitched a complete game that included a new season-high 10 strikeouts.

After Seton Hall scored in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game 1-1, it took the lead for good with a two-run homer later in the inning. USF stranded two baserunners, as Janine Richardson struck out to end the game, 3-1.

The Bulls’ bats responded quickly after the loss, scoring in the top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead in game two. USF settled down until the fourth inning, when Janine Richardson hit a three run homer for a 6-0 lead after an error scored Kelly McCarver. USF scored three more runs in the seventh inning to win, 9-0.

USF freshman starter Sara Nevins pitched six innings, allowing just three hits and striking out eight. Capri Catalano closed out the game, striking out the side in the seventh.

Posting 17 runs in five innings in game three, the Bulls were led by Stephanie Medina, who broke a five-game hitting slump and reached base in every at-bat, with two home runs and a double to drive in seven RBIs. She set new freshman records with 48 RBIs and eight home runs this season.

Nevins controlled the Pirates, surrendering only one hit and earning her 12th win of the season.

The Bulls headed north expecting to play five games, but weather canceled Thursday’s scheduled doubleheader against Rutgers. The Seton Hall series, which was supposed to begin with a Saturday doubleheader, got moved to Friday, with a Saturday series finale. There is no makeup date for the Rutgers games yet.

The Bulls host Connecticut in a three-game series, beginning with a doubleheader Friday at 2 p.m.