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Bulls bested in Louisville, drop two

When the USF softball team needed a hit most in a doubleheader against Louisville on Wednesday, the bats couldnt deliver.

Getting base runners wasnt a problem against Louisvilles talented pitching staff in either game. Getting the runners to third base wasnt rare, but the final 60 feet caused problems for the Bulls as they were swept, losing 4-1 and 9-0 to fall out of first place in the conference.

No. 17 USF (40-8, 13-3) loaded the bases with one out in the second inning of game one, but strikeouts by pinch hitter Sydney Dinelli and Janine Richardson ended the rally without a runner reaching home plate.

An inning later, Gina Kafalas reached third base, but designated player Kenshyra Jackson struck out. USF scored an unearned run in the fifth inning to cut the deficit to 3-1, but wasted another scoring chance in the top of the sixth inning after having runners on second and third with one out.

Alexis Nowell grounded to third baseman Kayla Soles, who threw home to get Courtney Goff out. One batter later, Ashli Goff grounded out to the pitcher, stranding Kourtney Salvarola at third.

In the game, USF stranded eight runners on the base paths after outhitting No. 9 Louisville 6-4.

The Bulls couldnt afford to waste runs with Sara Nevins not pitching at her usual level. Nevins, who entered the game with the best ERA in the nation at 0.74, allowed three earned runs before being pulled after three innings in game one and allowed five runs in 3.1 innings of game two, including a grand slam to Louisville (40-2, 11-2) center fielder Jordan Trimble.

The offense wasnt any timelier in game two, either. After going down 5-0 in the fourth inning, USF could have immediately gotten back into the game with runners on the corners and its best power hitter at the plate.

Instead, Stephanie Medina chased a pitch well above the strike zone, striking out and stranding the Bulls 15th runner of the day.

Both Sam Greiner and Lindsey Richardson looked good at moments in relief of Nevins, but with no run support their efforts werent enough. Nevins was charged with the loss in both games, falling to 23-4 on the season.

After a school-record 19-game win streak was snapped Saturday, the Bulls have now lost three of their last four games and have this weekend off.