No-hitter and walk-offs highlight Bulls’ big weekend
A little over a week ago, USF was 0-6. The Bulls had lost all four opening-weekend games and dropped the opening two the next.
Now, they are 6-7, fresh off a 4-0 weekend after defeating both FIU and No. 12 Tennessee twice at the USF Invitational.
“Even when we were 0-6 … I don’t think that really phased them,” interim head coach Jessica Moore said. “That shows they’re enjoying the process and that they trust us as a coaching staff.”
Factor in that the four wins came via a no-hitter — the program’s 27th — against FIU on Friday, walk-offs in back-to-back games against Tennessee and FIU on Saturday and another win over the Volunteers on Sunday, and the Bulls had a big weekend.
“We’re feeling really awesome right now,” senior AnaMarie Bruni said. “It’s something that we definitely needed — just to pick up on a little win streak here.”
Bulls’ junior ace Georgina Corrick only allowed one run in Friday’s 7-1 win over the Panthers, though it was scored on an error in the third. Other than that, it was lights out. Corrick threw the first six innings, striking out 11. Freshman Vivian Ponn completed the no-hitter with a scoreless seventh.
The decision to bring Ponn in was to take the pressure off Corrick as well as grow pitchers the Bulls can rely on, according to Moore.
“We have to continue to cultivate,” she said. “Georgina can go out and maybe she throws a no-hitter solo, but I can also get Vivian out there to help finish off this game for us. We know what we’re going to get out of [Corrick]. Now we have to continue to give the other guys a shot to get comfortable because we’re going to throw as a staff.”
Corrick pitched all 14 innings against Tennessee on Saturday and Sunday. She limited the Vols to three runs on 10 hits while striking out 11.
The Bulls’ offense complemented Corrick and Ponn’s performance, finding a spark against the Panthers on Friday. A three-run home run from Bethaney Keen highlighted a Bulls lineup that went 12-for-29.
“I think we were predators at the plate,” Moore said. “I think for our girls it was kind of like, ‘Thou shall not pass,’ so I was really happy after a good week of practice to see them come in and really go after it.”
USF’s hot bats carried over to Saturday’s walk-off wins, which saw two players hit their first career home runs.
Junior Kyndall Williams walked off Tennessee with her first, while fellow classmate A.J. Carter’s trimmed a two-run deficit against the Panthers in the sixth.
To round out the weekend, the Bulls edged the Vols 3-2 thanks to three runs scored in the third. Tennessee began a comeback effort in the seventh, bringing the game within one, then loading the bases after a two-out walk from Corrick. A pop up to Williams at shortstop ensured the Bulls’ perfect weekend.
Sunday’s win was the Bulls’ fourth against a top-20 team in the span of a week. That only keeps the ball rolling, according to Moore.
“It shows them that they belong,” she said. “When you come out and beat some good teams, it starts the momentum.”