WHO: USF (32-11, 10-1) at No. 3/4 Florida (38-4, 12-3)
WHEN: 6 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium, Gainesville
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – The Bulls have put their Big East schedule on hold for a golden opportunity in Gainesville.
USF (32-11, 10-1) goes for its 10th consecutive victory 6 p.m. Wednesday when it faces off against No. 3/4 Florida at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Head coach Ken Eriksen said the trip will benefit the Bulls in two ways. A win would give USF a ton of momentum heading back into Big East play. Win or lose, USF gains a ton of valuable experience in Gainesville, which is normally a host site during the NCAA tournament. The Bulls defeated UF at home in the regional championship game last season before making a run to the Women’s College World Series.
“You have to go through Gainesville. We did it in 2006, we weren’t able to do it in 2008 and we did it last year. You have to figure that you’re going to be playing in the regionals or Super Regionals in Gainesville and then you go from there,” Eriksen said. “It’s always nice to go to a venue you can get familiar with, and that’s the nice part about Wednesday.”
The Bulls have won 26 of their past 27 games and they’re treating another matchup against the Gators like it’s business as usual.
“It is a big game and there is a lot of hype behind it because they’ve had a good year and we’re starting to play USF softball,” first baseman Stephanie Medina said. “I feel like it’s just another location that we’re going to. We need to play them just like we played at Pitt, Villanova or any other place we’ve gone to.”
USF’s pitching staff hasn’t been fazed at any venue this season and starts the week ranked second in the nation with a 1.23 ERA. Left-hander Sara Nevins was named Big East Pitcher of the Week after throwing her fourth-career no-hitter last Saturday at Pitt. Right-hander Lindsey Richardson ranks second in the nation with a 0.97 ERA while Sam Greiner (1.68 ERA) and freshman Erica Nunn (2.66 ERA) continue to produce when called upon.
“Everyone comes in, they know their role and they do their job,” Medina said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling knowing you have a pitching staff like that. If you put two, three runs on the board we’re going to be tough to beat because we have such a powerful pitching staff.”
The Bulls return to USF Softball Stadium this weekend for a three-game series against Providence. Action begins with a doubleheader 1 p.m. Saturday and the series finale is set for 11 a.m. Sunday.