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USF softball looks for a spark against Jacksonville

After knocking home 52 RBIs while batting .378 in 2015, senior catcher Lee Ann Spivey is batting just .144 through nine games this season. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/JACOB HOAG

USF trudged through an opening schedule that featured the top-three ranked teams in the country in Florida (11-0), Michigan (8-1) and Auburn (10-1). The Bulls didn’t fare well, emerging with a 2-7 record.

The team is looking to rebound against Jacksonville tonight at 6 at the USF softball Stadium.

Jacksonville (6-5) has wins against North Carolina State (8-7, extra innings) and Kansas (9-0, five innings), which USF will face on Friday at 2 p.m.

The only common opponent with Jacksonville so far is the top-ranked Florida Gators, which outscored the Dolphins 16-0 in two games. USF lost to the Gators 11-1 in five innings in its opening weekend.

The Dolphins’ offense has been paced by Danielle Baker, who has 10 runs and eight RBIs while batting .345.

USF’s pitching has struggled, giving up 62 runs, 10 of which were home runs.

In fairness, four of those nine opponents currently rank in the top 30 in batting average.

On the offensive side, USF showed what it was capable of in Friday’s win against Fordham, scoring 11 runs, including a three-hit, three-RBI day for sophomore first baseman Lauren Evans. The Bulls’ also put up four runs on No. 14 Tennessee in a 6-4 loss Saturday.

But the Bulls aren’t getting the production they envisioned.

USF’s leading hitter coming into the season, senior catcher Lee Ann Spivey, is batting .144 after racking up 52 RBIs in 2015. Sophomore outfielder Astin Donovan finished with a .341 average last season, but is batting .174 to this point.

Both of USF’s wins have come with freshman pitcher Cheyenne Eggens in the circle, the most recent being a two-run complete game against Fordham.

Eggens has given up only seven earned runs in 18 2/3 innings pitched — that’s nearly half of the next closest pitcher (sophomore Susan Wysocki, 14).

First pitch is at 6 p.m.