TAMPA – The No. 22/25 Bulls extended their stay at the Gainesville Regional by outlasting Georgia Southern, 2-1, in nine innings on Saturday night.
USF (45-15) advanced to Sunday’s championship round that features a rematch with No. 2 Florida at 1 p.m. The Bulls came up on the short end of an 11-1 decision against UF earlier Saturday and would have to defeat the Gators twice to advance to Super Regionals for the second straight season.
USF and Georgia Southern’s rematch was tied at 1 in the top of the ninth inning when aggressive Dani Wayt scored the go-ahead run with two outs. Wayt started the USF rally with a one-out single and advanced to second on a wild pitch before the Bulls got really aggressive on the base paths. Wayt stole third and a throwing error on the attempt allowed the junior to jet home.
"In my at-bat I had two strikes on me, so I wasn't going to let the third one go by. Then I took advantage of the ball in the dirt," Wayt said. "Coach saw the advantage of being able to get to third safely and then they overthrew it. I hard coach say, 'Go,' and then I heard, 'Hurry.'"
Lindsey Richardson (12-4) brought her strikeout total up to eight by striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth. The senior right-hander gave up two hits in five scoreless innings and made school history in the process. Richardson’s 207 strikeouts and Sara Nevins’ 269 mark the first time USF has had two 200-plus strikeout pitchers in one season.
"Our young ladies came off a knockout early punch today. They could have crawled in a hole and not responded in the second game but Lindsey came out and gave us what we needed," head coach Ken Eriksen said.