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NOTEBOOK: Softball sweeps conference-opening series

Senior outfielder AnaMarie Bruni recorded her 82nd career stolen base Sunday, marking a record in AAC softball history. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

The USF softball team extended its winning streak to 11 over the weekend as it swept Memphis to open conference play, culminating in a 5-1 win over the Tigers on Sunday.

The Bulls’ offense continued to show out during all four games. USF (14-6, 4-0 AAC) scored at least five runs in every game, including two 8-0 wins that resulted in six-inning run-rule victories. USF has now gone six straight games winning by at least three runs dating back to Wednesday’s 8-0 victory over North Florida.

It was a complete team effort from the Bulls all series as their efforts at the plate were matched on the mound and the basepaths.

Junior pitcher Georgina Corrick threw a complete-game shutout in the series opener, stacking up 11 strikeouts and allowing just one hit in the first 8-0 victory. The second one was orchestrated by a combined effort from sophomore Camryn Dolby and freshman Vivian Ponn. Corrick took the bump again in the series finale, throwing another complete game and only allowing one unearned run.

Corrick has not allowed a run in her last nine starts, going back to the Bulls’ March 10 game against New Mexico State.

It was also a historic series for USF on the basepaths as sophomore infielder Megan Pierro and senior outfielder AnaMarie Bruni each had three stolen bases in a single game. Pierro accomplished the feat on Friday during the series opener while Bruni did it Sunday. It was the first time a Bull had stolen three bases in a single game since 2018.

Bruni also broke the record for career stolen bases in AAC history, with 82.

Coach Ken Eriksen said his team’s recent success is thanks in part to it finally getting into a rhythm in all facets of the game, but the Bulls face a big challenge in next week’s away series at Houston.

“Right now, we’re kind of getting some rhythm,” Eriksen said. “Pitchers and catchers are working together really well at this point. They’re finding where they’re at and the hitters are finding their place in the lineup. 

“We’ve got a challenge ahead of us now against a team next week that has played a lot more games than we have. We’ll see how our team does.”

USF remains undefeated with win over Houston

The No. 14 USF women’s soccer team’s record remains unblemished in the conference as it took down Houston 3-1 on Sunday after having to come from behind.

It was the first time all season the Bulls trailed during a game at any point this season. Houston senior forward Jazmin Grant put the Bulls under pressure and managed to open the scoring less than five minutes into the game. 

The Bulls (6-0-1, 5-0 AAC) remained composed and scored 10 minutes later to tie it. The goal came courtesy of freshman defender Vivianne Bessette, her second of the season. Freshman forward Seria Thurton gave the Bulls the lead before halftime scoring off a pass from junior forward Sydny Nasello. 

Nasello would be rewarded for her efforts in the second half scoring off a pass from Bessette to put the game out of reach for the Cougars (4-4-1, 1-4, AAC).

Despite going down early for the first time all season, coach Denise Schilte-Brown was encouraged by the come-from-behind effort.

“We played well today,” Schilte-Brown said in a statement. 

“Overall, it was a great team effort with every player coming in to contribute minutes. I really like the maturity the team showed in rebounding after the early goal to take the lead before halftime. They didn’t let it get to their head and fought back into the game to get the win.”

The Bulls play their home finale against Memphis on April 3.

Baseball gets swept by No. 6 Texas Tech

In its first matchup against a top 25 team this season, the USF baseball team was swept by the No. 6 Texas Tech Red Raiders over the weekend. Following the three-game sweep, the Bulls are now on a four-game losing streak.

Despite putting up a respectable six runs in the series opener, USF could not overcome Texas Tech’s offense. The Red Raiders put up 16 runs in the first game, including four home runs and a nine-run fifth inning. 

Sophomore pitcher Jack Jasiak was chased during the fifth-inning rally. The 16 runs from Texas Tech are the second-most that USF has allowed all season.

In the second game in Lubbock, the Bulls’ bats went cold against Texas Tech’s redshirt senior pitcher Patrick Monteverde. He went seven innings, allowing no runs, five hits and striking out nine as his team cruised to an 8-0 win.  

It was USF’s first time being shut out all season.

In the series finale, Texas Tech’s offense once again proved too much for the Bulls to handle as they went on to win 7-4.

The Red Raiders scored in each of the first six innings of the game, allowing them to handle a three-run rally in the fifth inning from USF. 

Redshirt sophomore infielder Roberto Peña hit USF’s lone home run in the second inning, his fifth of the season. Peña also helped to drive in two more runs during the three-run fifth inning for USF’s final score of the game.

The Bulls will now return home for a one-off game against Stetson to close their nonconference schedule before hosting the War on I-4 for a four-game series starting April 1.