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Bulls grab two back-to-back 7-1 wins to kick off weekend tournament

AnaMarie Bruni went 6-for-8 on the day with a stolen base on Friday. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

Thanks to their explosive offense and a one-hitter from Georgina Corrick, USF softball extended its win streak to six after 7-1 victories against No. 23 Wisconsin and UMass on Friday to kick off their weekend in the USF-Clearwater Parks and Recreation Showcase Tournament.

Filla hits first career homer in Bulls’ victory over No. 23 Badgers

Georgina Corrick’s one-hitter and the team’s offensive prowess handed coach Ken Eriksen career win No. 950 in USF’s 7-1 victory against No. 23 Wisconisin.

In a game that showcased individual offensive skill, the Bulls’ scoring momentum was driven by an early RBI from Bethaney Keen and the Bulls scored three runs in the next two innings to put them ahead of the Badgers 3-1.

Freshman Tayli Filla stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning and crushed the 1-2 pitch over the left-field fence to score Dezarae Maldonado and Brooke Liestl, who were pinch running for Keen and Macy Cook, respectively.

This was Filla’s first career home run.

“It was exciting, everything is finally coming together,” Filla said. “It feels really good.”

Eriksen credits the veteran players for creating an environment that makes it easier for freshmen to grow in their game.

“Our freshman class that’s out there playing right now … they’re playing ball and they’re fitting in, but you know what, that’s a credit to them,” Eriksen said. “In all honesty, the environment that the upper-class people have made for them … you don’t have freshmen that come in and produce like they are unless they feel comfortable with their team.”

Filla’s homer finished off the Bulls’ runs against the Badgers, however Corrick’s pitching kept Wisconsin from scoring more than one run.

Corrick, who registered her 10th win this season and second career win over Wisconsin, pitched 6.2 innings and struck out seven. Corrick was replaced by Cheyenne Eggens who finished out the game against the Badgers.

Cook and Bruni lead way in victory over UMass

The batters stole the show against UMass, with Macy Cook and Anamarie Bruni leading offensively.

Cook, who went 2-for-2 and registered four RBIs, drove in the first run for the Bulls in the bottom of the first when she singled to center field, scoring Megan Pierro. Cook also drove in Pierro in the third inning for USF’s third run against the Minutewomen.

“We don’t really have any power hitters … but if [Cook] catches one it’s gonna go out,” Eriksen said. “The big deal for her is being in the five spot. If you can get [Lindsey Devitt], Bruni and Pierro on bases before her and [Keen], you’ve got a chance to drive guys in.”

Cook put two more runs on the board when she stepped up to the plate and singled in the bottom of the fifth to score Bruni and Pierro for the third time in the game.

Bruni also performed well offensively across both games, going 6-for-8 on the day while scoring four runs. She also registered a season-high three hits against the Minutewomen.

“If I rush and get too crazy up here [in her head] and get squirrels, I don’t do too well,” Bruni said. “Today, I just felt really relaxed  and I just took it slow in the box.”

Bruni also stole a base in the bottom of the third, her team-leading 16th of the season. Bruni has also managed to steal at least one base in her last three games.

Bruni’s hits have mainly been infield hits this season and she spoke on how her speed has helped her make it to first base.

“It depends on what I’m eating in the morning,” Bruni joked. “I think I’ve gotten faster through our workouts. We do a lot of speed and agility work so I feel like that’s helped.”

The Bulls look to continue their winning streak in the tournament as they take on No. 16 Indiana at 3:30 p.m. and St. John’s at 6 p.m. in another doubleheader Saturday in Clearwater.

“We’ve got a test every day. Every day its like an SAT for this team,” Eriksen said.