With a simple flick of the wrist, senior D’Anna Devine popped two balls over third base, scoring two of USF’s runs in a 3-2 win over Central Connecticut State.
The outfielder went 2-for-3 Monday night at the USF Softball Complex with the go ahead run in the bottom of the fifth to give USF their 18th win in 19 games.
“Get the barrel to the ball,” Devine said. “That’s what coach has been telling me. I’ve been running out of the box really fast and with a pitcher like today … I was just trying my hardest to hit the ball.”
Devine is batting .380 on the season with seven RBIs on 27 hits.
Central Connecticut State (9-3) put the Bulls down early as USF catcher Lee Ann Spivey let a ball fly past her in the top of the second inning, which allowed junior Brittany Ernst to score from third to put the Blue Devils up 1-0.
Spivey, who was named the AAC Player of the Week on Monday, then came right back to smack a home run over center field — her seventh of the year — to tie the game.
USF (26-8) showed its defensive prowess when CCSU’s Eileen Purcell hit a rocket to center field that bounced just out of Devine’s glove. Sophomore Juli Weber was able to relay the ball home to Spivey who got the out, saving a run.
After a Devine RBI single in the third, the Blue Devils came right back with an RBI single of their own, tying the game once again.
Devine would retaliate with her second RBI single of the game to put the Bulls up 3-2, where they would stay.
Blue Devil pitcher Laura Messina, who completed the game throwing five strikes, recorded only her second loss of the season after giving USF all she had with her unique pitching.
“I haven’t seen a spin like that since 1996-97,” coach Ken Eriksen said of the senior. “When (the players) come back and say things like ‘I’m hearing it spin,’ that’s pretty good stuff. Messina is one of the best ones in the country.”
Messina had a .41 ERA coming in with 70 strikeouts on the season.
On the other side of the diamond, USF senior Karla Claudio notched her seventh win of the season fanning four innings with six strikeouts.
USF now sets its sights on a doubleheader tonight against Hartford (1-15) and Canisius (5-8) beginning at 5 at the USF Softball Complex.