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USF drops first two of AAC play

Lee Ann Spivey knocked in her AAC-leading 42nd RBI in the Bulls’ 2-1 loss to the Cougars. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

In the opening weekend of AAC play, USF was unable to keep the momentum it gained during non-conference games and dropped both games against Houston.

Bringing a March record of 16-1 into the weekend, USF’s offense had been a big reason for the team’s recent stretch of wins, as they were scoring an average of five runs per game.

USF was unable to generate these numbers Sunday and fell to the Cougars (16-16, 2-0) 4-2 and 2-1 in the doubleheader, which brought its season record to 28-10.

The Bulls were unable to take advantage of scoring opportunities in game one, including a bases-loaded opportunity in the fourth that brought no runs. 

Houston didn’t waste any time capitalizing on USF’s lack of scoring and blew open a scoreless game with a four-run fifth inning.

Down 4-0 with two outs in the seventh, the Bulls began a furious comeback that would fall short.

Freshman Cassidy Boyle got the rally off with a single followed by a single by freshman Astin Donovan to put runners on first and third with senior Karla Claudio up to bat.

Claudio (7-2) blasted a two-run double and cut the deficit to two, but a long shot by sophomore Juli Weber was tracked down by Houston’s Katie St. Pierre and extinguished the comeback attempt.

Despite taking a no-hitter into the fifth, junior pitcher Erica Nunn (7-5) earned the loss — her fifth of the year. 

Junior Lee Ann Spivey went 2-for-3 at the plate for her 11th multi-hit game of the season.

In their second attempt, USF had a similar chance to steal the win with a late rally, but once again fell short.

A single from freshman Mia Fung and a walk drawn by Claudio put two runners in scoring position down 2-1 in the seventh, but the Bulls were not able to bring the runs home to extend the game.

Senior Sam Greiner (8-3) earned the loss pitching 1 2/3 innings and gave up two earned runs.

Spivey extended her hitting streak to six games with an RBI double — her conference-leading 42nd RBI of the year — while Donovan’s 12-game hitting streak came to an end.

USF returns home to host its first conference series of the season against Tulsa (19-10, 3-0) beginning Saturday at 1 p.m. at the USF Softball Complex.