Softball wins three games in Tucson

Bethaney Keen drove in the game-winning run against New Mexico on Sunday. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

USF softball picked up three wins over the weekend at the Hillenbrad Invitational in Tuscon, Arizona, upsetting No. 9 Arizona on Friday before defeating Illinois-Chicago on Saturday and New Mexico on Sunday.

Following a 2-0 loss to No. 7 Alabama earlier in the day, USF (4-6) defeated Arizona for the first time in program history. Sophomore pitcher Georgina Corrick picked up her first win of the season, allowing one run on four hits while going the full seven innings.

A four-run sixth inning, which featured RBIs from Mia Fung, Megan Pierro and Macy Cook, gave USF its only runs of the game. Arizona answered back with a homer in the bottom of the sixth, but that would be it for scoring, as USF knocked off the Wildcats 4-1, the same score Arizona defeated USF by just seven days earlier in Tampa.

Despite splitting its doubleheader, USF batting struck out 28 times combined on Friday alone.

“We struck out 28 times in two games — 12 times in the first game, 16 times in the second game,” coach Ken Eriksen said in a statement after Friday’s games. “But you’re out here to face that type of pitching. For us to keep the other team at bay also … that’s what we preach all the time, ‘Keep the other guys at zero as long as possible to give us a shot.’”

The Bulls followed up the win against Arizona by defeating Illinois-Chicago 7-5 before falling to Cal State Fullerton 5-4 on Saturday. USF jumped out to a 7-0 lead on Illinois-Chicago through the middle of the fourth before surrendering four in the bottom of the fourth and another run in the fifth, but that was as close as the Flames got. Corrick picked up her second win of the season, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings, striking out four and surrendering no walks.

Against Cal State Fullerton, the Bulls jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to an RBI each from Macy Cook and AnaMarie Bruni in the first and second innings, respectively. The Bulls and Titans exchanged the lead several times before Cal State Fullerton eventually walked-off in the bottom of the seventh inning on an RBI-double.

It took extra innings to defeat New Mexico on Sunday. Bethaney Keen drove in Meghan Sheehan in the bottom of the eighth to give USF the 2-1 victory. Corrick picked up her third win of the weekend, going 2.2 scoreless innings in relief of Nicole Doyle.

Eriksen praised his team for its toughness this weekend.

“USF showed tremendous resilience this weekend,” Eriksen said. “Not only did they get a big win against No. 9 Arizona, but the Bulls battled through every inning of the tournament. We made a lot of improvements, and our pitchers were able to hold teams at zero and give our offense a chance to make some moves in tough situations.”

Up next for USF is the USF-Rawlings Invitational at the USF Softball Stadium. The Bulls host Virginia Tech and Georgia State on Friday, Georgia State and Texas State on Saturday and Texas State on Sunday morning.