As South Florida softball approaches its upcoming season in the American Athletic Conference, it will need to prepare to take on two other teams who made regional tournaments last year — UCF and Wichita State.
In 2022, the Bulls (45-16, 12-5 AAC) stood as the No. 3 seed in the AAC, posting 12 wins and a .706 field percentage.
Despite a drive for redemption fueled by the 11-0 loss to Central Florida (49-14, 16-2 AAC) in the AAC championship last season, USF will have to overcome the loss of four seniors. Georgina Corrick graduated subsequently holding 39 USF or AAC records during her collegiate career.
East Carolina – March 24-26
After enduring 38 nonconference games, South Florida will host East Carolina to mark its first American matchup. The last time the two teams met, USF eliminated the Pirates (20-36, 2-16 AAC) from the conference tournament after a 8-0 shutout.
ECU finished second to last with a 0.111 conference percentage from its 2022 run and will most likely not be a concern for USF.
Wichita state – March 31-April 2
Wichita State (34-18, 14-4 AAC) will be USF’s first traveling conference game. In their prior meeting, the Bulls won the first two games of the series but lost in the finale when the Shockers (34-18, 14-4 AAC) pulled a comeback in the fourth to tie the game. Wichita snagged the win in the sixth in the wake of a solo homer.
Finishing second in the American last season, the Shockers are a team the Bulls will need to prepare for.
Tulsa – April 6-8
Following its trip to Kansas, South Florida will return home to face Tulsa. The three-game series constitutes the Bulls’ halfway mark through conference opponents.
After falling in the AAC quarterfinals last year to the Cougars (18-30-1, 7-9-1 AAC), the Golden Hurricanes finished as the No. 4 seed.
Last year, USF won the first game of the series 2-1 but lost in the second 0-8. Tulsa will pose a respectable threat to South Florida, but the Bulls still have a more forgiving record.
UCF – April 21-23
The biggest challenge for the Bulls will be traveling to Orlando for the War on 1-4. USF struggled through a heartbreaking loss to UCF last season following a 11-0 loss in the AAC Championship.
Central Florida finished the prior season as the No. 1 seed with a .0889 field percentage and a 16-2 record.
The Bulls need to prepare for this challenge if they want a fair chance to clutch a win over their biggest rival.
Memphis – April 28-30
South Florida will play Memphis at home, which will be its last appearance in the USF Softball Stadium for the regular season.
Only finishing with two conference wins last season, the Tigers (16-38, 2-16 AAC) will not be a major threat to the Bulls.
Houston – May 5-7
Closing out conference play, USF will travel to Houston and hope to claim another sweep over the Cougars (27-27-1, 8-9-1 AAC).
In their last meeting, South Florida won all three games in the series and stole five bases in the finale.
While the Cougars were ranked fourth, the Bulls have more pressing opponents. Houston finished with a .472 field percentage with a 8-9 record, which is a sizable difference compared to USF’s 12-5 performance history.