TAMPA - Junior Alison Savarese’s leadoff double in the bottom of the seventh triggered a 6-5 Bulls comeback victory to lead the University of South Florida softball team (25-11 overall, 4-0 BIG EAST), which completed the two game series, Wednesday evening against Rutgers (8-13 overall, 0-2 BIG EAST).
"Rutgers came out the second game and fought three times as hard," said USF softball head coach Ken Eriksen. "Thank goodness we had pretty good relief by Brittany Bowles and getting us out of a jam with a huge strikeout."
Savarese would lead off the bottom of the seventh inning with a double down the left field line bringing up junior Lauren Rodriguez who sacrificed her to third. With two outs in the inning and Savarese standing on third, the Scarlet Knight third baseman was unable to handle a bunt by freshman Gina Kafalas, which allowed Savarvers to score the winning run.
The Bulls would strike first with three runs to take the early lead.
Freshman Janine Richardson jogged home on a Savarese bases loaded walk in the first. The Bulls would put the second and third run on the board by a sac fly by senior Britta Giddens and a RBI single by junior catcher Cat Olnick.
The Scarlet Knights would fight back in the fourth cutting the lead to one on a RBI triple to right center followed by an RBI single of their own.
In the bottom of the fifth, Olnick would reach third after she lined a ball to the centerfielder who would misread the ball allowing Olnick to advance all the way to third. Another Rutgers error would plate Olnick to extend the Bulls lead to 4-2.
Rutgers evened the score in the top of the fifth after a solo homerun by the Scarlet Knight left fielder, Lindsey Curran and another RBI single up the middle.
Senior Britta Giddens would answer for the Bulls as she sent a Scarlet Knight offer over the left field wall for the second time in three games allowing the Bulls to retake the lead, 5-4
"Everytime I step to the plate I just try to make contact," said Giddens. "It just happened to go over the fence. Yes!!"
After a Rutgers batter was hit-by-a-pitch, and then sacrificed to second, followed by a double to left center, the Scarlet Knights would evening up the score once again.
Candace Howell (6-4) would get the win as pitched the final inning holding the Scarlet Knights to one run.
The Bulls will head to Louisville to face the #16/15 Cardinals in a BIG EAST conference game on Friday, March 20 with the doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. followed immediately by the second game.