The USF softball team will face its first out-of-state test of the season today and Thursday in Philadelphia against the Villanova Wildcats.
It’s the second series of Big East play for the Bulls
after winning their opening conference tilt against Rutgers 2-1 on March 23 and 24.
After an offensive drought that lasted nearly the first month of the season, the Bulls’ batters finally heated up in the friendly confines of the USF softball stadium, averaging well over one home run per game and more than five runs per game in the last month.
The heart of the Bulls’ batting order continues to impose its will on opposing pitching, but it will be interesting to see if they can carry the success to chilly
The weather in Philadelphia is projected for a high of 54 degrees on Wednesday and a high of 52 degrees on Thursday.
The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. today, followed by a Thursday doubleheader at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Some Bulls may have family in attendance, and it could help the team feel more at home.
Sophomore D’Anna Devine, sophomore Sam Greiner, junior Brittany Garvey and sophomore Allie Patierno are all native to the Philadelphia and New Jersey
The Wildcats are 12-11(3-0 Big East) and on a four-game losing streak after a loss to St. Joseph’s and a three-game sweep by Georgetown last weekend.
Villanova is led by Maria DiBernardi who has more than
700 career wins as a coach.
The Wildcats have two players batting over .300 and only six home runs on the season — three from senior catcher Amanda Marquez and three from sophomore outfielder Beth Smetana.
By comparison, the 24-11 (2-1 Big East) Bulls have 31 home runs in 35 games and eight home runs in their last four.
The Bulls will likely see a lot of freshman pitcher Kate Poppe, who has a 2.20 ERA in 98 and 2/3 innings.