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USF softball sees explosive offensive performance, wins two to wrap up invitational

Junior utility Marissa Trivelpiece led the charge for the Bulls, notching three hits including a grand slam. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

After dropping two games on Friday to start its invitational, USF softball managed to bounce back and win both matches on Saturday.

The Bulls’ (6-9) offense was dominant throughout the two games, as they scored six runs against the Spartans (6-7) and seven against the Flames (0-12).

This is how the Bulls fared in the both games:

USF 6, Michigan State 1

In their first win of the day, the Bulls overcame Michigan State 6-1 with the help of an explosive offensive and an impeccable defense. 

South Florida’s offense scored a season-high six runs juxtaposed with a quiet Spartan offense. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Hallie Bryant and junior utility Natalie Zweig both recorded an RBI, but junior utility Marissa Trivelpiece’s grand slam was a high point in the Bull’s strong offensive performance.

Trivelpiece said the feeling of achieving a victory against her former team was somewhat complicated. 

“It was a couple of mixed emotions. It was fun, but it was a little weird to be on the other side because I’m always used to being with them” she said. “But I was really excited and locked in before the game, and my team did a great job of helping us get to where we need to be.”

Pitching was not the strongest factor of the Bulls’ performance. They surrendered a combined eight hits, including two extra base hits and three walks, while only striking out one.

Defensive awareness was crucial for USF, as it was able to exploit Michigan State’s base running errors and get a couple of outs on the basepaths. Besides that, a spectacular diving play by freshman infielder Kathy Garcia-Soto highlighted the strong defensive performance from South Florida. 

Coach Ken Eriksen praised his team’s work on defense.

“Our defense has been pretty solid. You got some athletes out there. When you take a look at Garcia at third, Trivelpiece at short, Pierro at second, you got some guys that can pick it pretty good,” he said. “So I feel pretty good about our infield defense.”

USF 7, UIC 3

Following up on the win against Michigan State, the Bulls wrapped up the invitational with a  7-3 comeback win over the UIC Flames.

After going down 3-0 in the third inning, USF bounced back and scored four runs in the fourth after loading the bases on three singles by freshman catcher Camille Ortiz-Martinez, senior infielder Megan Pierro and freshman utility Alexa Galligani. The four runs of the inning were brought in by a base on balls by Trivelpiece, a steal of home plate by Pierro and back-to-back singles by senior outfielder Emilee Hanlon and redshirt junior outfielder Jordyn Kadlub.

South Florida’s offense set another season-high by scoring seven runs, beating the six-run mark set in the previous game. Bryant led the charge with a three-run inside-the-park homer in the third inning that put the Bulls up by four.

A strong defensive performance was yet again a major factor in South Florida’s success, as six total strikeouts throughout the game allowed the defense to work and seal the deal for the Bulls.

Redshirt freshman Payton Dixon said she felt about the defense’s abilities to make plays and win the game.

“I always feel confident with them behind me. I know they have my back,” Dixon said. “There weren’t many strikeouts, so everybody had to play their part and it was overall a team win.”

Eriksen emphasized the importance of Sunday’s day off, and said he was looking forward to the following games.

“Tomorrow is an off day. Rest and recovery day,” he said. “Monday we’re coming out again, but for now it’s rest and recovery and take advantage of it because it’s going to get tough.”

The Bulls will come back out on Monday to face the Kansas Jayhawks at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.