Salvarola and Bulls take first game at Villanova
Softball junior shortstop Kourtney Salvarola stole the show once again for the Bulls in Wednesday’s victory at Villanova, three days after hitting three home runs and winning the game with a walk-off shot against Rutgers.
Salvarola now leads all Big East players in long balls after she slugged two more home runs in the Bulls’ 8-2 victory.
USF had to escape early trouble as junior pitcher Sara Nevins was in a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, but battled out of it to only allow one run.
The Bulls tied 1-1 in the second inning on Villanova’s second error of the game before senior Kenshyra Jackson’s RBI single put the Bulls up 2-1.
Nevins was in trouble again in the third inning with runners on second and third base but escaped without a blemish.
Then, sophomore D’Anna Devine baited Villanova into a two-out walk in the fourth inning, which set the stage for more clutch hitting by Salvarola, as she blasted her ninth home run of the year over the centerfield wall and gave the Bulls a 4-1 lead.
In the fifth inning, Villanova’s Beth Smetana hit a two-run home run but was called out after USF appealed that she didn’t touch home plate.
Instead of a 4-3 game, Smetana was awarded a triple and the game was 4-2.
USF didn’t look back from there.
Salvarola drove in junior Ashli Goff and Devine on a three-run shot in the sixth inning.
USF scored another run on an error in the seventh inning and improved to 25-11 (4-1 Big East).
Nevins finished with 10 strikeouts in a complete game and improved to 11-5 on the year.
USF was helped out with four unearned runs on an alarming six errors by the Wildcats.
The Bulls now have the most home runs by a team in the Big East with 33 total.
USF will finish its three-game stint at Villanova in a doubleheader today. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 11 a.m. with game two beginning at approximately 1 p.m.
The Bulls will be off this weekend and won’t play until April 3 at home against St. John’s in a two-game afternoon series.