After trailing 3-0 after the first inning, the USF softball team used a four-run sixth to complete a crazy comeback, downing No. 6 Michigan, 6-4.
In the sixth, the Bulls offense kicked into high gear as they plated four runs, highlighted by a two-run bomb from Kassie Moeller. Lauren Evans led off with a single and came around on Moeller’s first career home run.
With two outs and the game tied at 4-all, Kristen Wyckoff began a rally, singling up the middle. The speedy senior stole second and advanced to third on an Astin Donovan single. As always, senior Juli Weber came up clutch, reaching on a hit through the Michigan third baseman’s legs. The resulting error scored two runs, giving the Bulls the 6-4 lead.
Michigan jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. An overthrow by Donovan, led to two runs on a single from Tera Blanco. An RBI groundout from Courtney Richardson scored the third run of the inning, before Evans fielded a grounder for the final out of the inning.
Weber hit her eighth career home run in the bottom of the third inning to put USF in striking distance of the Wolverines. Kristen Wyckoff began the inning with an infield single and moved to third on a stolen base and groundout. Weber’s in-the-park homerun scored Wyckoff and made it a 3-2 game.
The Wolverines would extend their lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Taylor Swearingen.
Cheyenne Eggens pitched an incredible 3.2 innings to pick up her first win of the season. The sophomore allowed just one run on four hits. Kalen McGill picked up the save, throwing one inning of one-hit ball.
Senior Kassie Moeller on her first career home run and the win: “I felt really good. I think it was a great team win. It’s nice to have the whole team behind you supporting you. It was great for the team. I was praying that it (the ball) went over so that I didn’t have to run. Honestly it feels really good though.”
Head coach Ken Eriksen on his team’s win: “Well first of all Michigan is a heck of a team. Tera Blanco was the number three pitcher last year. She’s pretty good and she is going to get better as the year goes on. Michigan is a great battle every year. Our guys, it doesn’t matter. They are just trying to play the game, whether we're down one, up three, down four, it doesn’t matter. Just play the game. The game is over when you decide it’s over. There is no time limit in our game so we can continue to do some things offensively. I thought our speed did a great job tonight creating opportunities for us. By large it was a fun game to coach a new team.”
1-Kassie Moeller hit her first career home run in a pinch hit situation to tie the game.
3-The number of comeback wins the Bulls have had this season.
4-The number of runs the Bulls scored in the sixth inning to take the lead.
-The Bulls are 3-0 for the first time since the 2013 season.
-USF ended a three-game losing streak to the Wolverines and avenged an 11-2 loss in 2016.
-The last time USF beat a ranked team was 2015 when the Bulls topped then No. 16/15 UCF.
Next Up The Bulls wrap up the weekend against No. 4/3 Florida Sunday, February 12, at 4 p.m.
Be sure to follow USF softball on social media (Twitter / Facebook / Instagram) and visit GoUSFBulls.com for the most up-to-date information. The USF softball program has been one of the most successful on campus, making 12 NCAA tournament appearances, including a trip to the Women’s College World Series in 2012. USF returns 15 players from the 2016 squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Juli Weber, first-team all-conference selection Lauren Evans, and second-team selections Astin Donovan and Kristen Wyckoff.