TAMPA – Sara Nevins struck out 14 batters to help the No. 24 Bulls hold off Syracuse, 3-2, in the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader at USF Softball Stadium.
Nevins (22-6) allowed two unearned runs on three hits in six innings of USF’s third straight victory. The Bulls (39-13) improved to 17-2 in Big East play less than two hours after head coach Ken Eriksen was honored for becoming the school’s all-time wins leader. Eriksen passed former baseball coach Eddie Cardieri on the list on Tuesday and is now 733-377-1 in 17 seasons with the Bulls.
USF grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning and scored each of its runs with two outs. Kenshyra Jackson started things off with an RBI single and Lee Ann Spivey added an RBI triple. Jackson and Spivey both rank second on the team with 33 RBIs this season.
Syracuse scored an unearned run in the third and the Bulls grabbed a 3-1 lead in the fourth when Spivey scored on a wild pitch. The Orange (19-25, 7-10) scored a run on a wild pitch by Lindsey Richardson in the seventh but the senior right-hander earned her fifth save by getting Corinne Ozanne to fly out.
Saturday’s second game is set for a 3:20 p.m. start and USF will be honoring its newest members of the Alumni Hall of Fame. Dawn Melfi-Kosilla, Kit Dunbar and Carmela Liwag will throw out the first pitch.