By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – Sara Nevins’ junior season packed full of accomplishments now includes the conference’s top pitching honor.
USF’s left-handed ace was named Big East Pitcher of the Year at the league’s pre-tournament awards banquet Wednesday night. Nevins also grabbed a spot on the All-Big East First Team with teammate Kourtney Salvarola, who became a unanimous selection after tying for third in the conference with 13 home runs.
Third baseman Kenshrya Jackson made the All-Big East Second Team while Lindsey Richardson, the Bulls’ right-handed ace, become a third-team selection a night before the conference tournament begins at USF Softball Stadium.
Nevins currently ranks fourth nationally with a 1.06 ERA in 178 1/3 innings in a season that saw the junior become USF’s all-time strikeout leader with 759 and counting. Nevins no-hit Pitt on April 6 and leads the Bulls’ staff with a 22-7 record and 230 strikeouts in 40 appearances.
Nevins tied for the Big East lead with 125 strikeouts in league play while ranking second in ERA (1.18), wins (13) and opposing batting average (.166). The Pinellas Park, Fla., native earned Big East Pitcher of the Week honors twice and was one of 25 finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award.
Salvarola, a shortstop, leads USF in almost every statistical category including batting average (.360), runs (37), hits (54), RBIs (41), homers, slugging percentage (.693) and on-base percentage (.470). The junior was named Big East Player of the Week on April 1 and has landed a spot on the conference’s weekly honor roll three times this season.
Jackson has committed just three errors in 103 attempts at the hot corner this season while ranking second on the team with 10 homers, 34 RBIs and a .549 slugging percentage. The senior ranks fourth on the team with a .296 batting average and she’s hit .379 in the past 10 games with two doubles, a triple, two homers and 11 RBIs.
Richardson (11-4) ranks ninth in the country with a 1.20 ERA and threw no-hitters against Marshall (Feb. 8), Maine (March 12) and Providence (April 13). The senior is second on the team with 186 strikeouts and ranks fifth on USF’s all-time list with 541.
USF (40-14, 18-3) finished the regular season as the Big East’s second seed and starts its tournament run 6:30 p.m. Thursday against seventh-seeded Providence.