USF softball turns a corner in USF Tournament
USF softball is beginning to hit its stride following a four-win weekend at the USF Tournament. With wins over Power 5 opponents Wisconsin (7-7) and Kansas (7-8), USF is heading in the right direction after a rough 2-7 start to the season.
The Bulls (7-8) capped off the strong showing at the USF Softball Stadium with a 6-0 win over Kansas on Sunday.
“I think today’s game was one of the most flawless games I’ve been involved in as a coach at South Florida for a long time,” coach Ken Eriksen said following Sunday’s win.
That all started on the mound with senior Erica Nunn (3-4) pitching a complete-game shutout, allowing only one hit. Nunn gave up 23 runs heading into Saturday’s games, but allowed just two in starts against Wisconsin and Kansas.
After giving up a hit and a walk in the first inning, Nunn retired 17 straight batters before allowing another walk to the first batter of the seventh inning.
“I’m just trying to get comfortable,” Nunn said. “I’m just attacking people and making them prove to me that they can hit.”
It helps when the offense outscores opponents 40-13. USF scored at least five runs in each of its five games, which included a 9-1 win over UNLV on Friday and a 10-2 win over Wisconsin on Saturday after falling to the Badgers 9-5 earlier in the day.
The biggest difference from prior weeks is the re-emergence of senior catcher Lee Ann Spivey at the plate. Spivey is currently batting .310 after hitting in the mid .100s for most of the young season.
Eriksen and Nunn both credit the resurgence to a simple mood shift.
“I’m going to attribute that to a ring around her finger,” Eriksen said of the catcher who was proposed to following USF’s run-rule win over UNLV (8-8) on Friday.
Some might call it a coincidence, but in the ten games prior to her engagement, Spivey was 5-for-26 at the plate. Since then, she has gone 8-for-15 with two home runs.
“When she’s happy, she’s playing well,” Eriksen added.
USF gets a few days off before heading to Bethune-Cookman for a midweek matchup at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, but the team is ready to get back to work.
“They like to go to work,” Eriksen said of his team’s practice mentality. “They like to get right back to it. They’re still looking to have a flawless practice, let alone a flawless game.”