Date: Saturday, April 5 (1 p.m. & 3:15 p.m.) & Sunday, April 6 (11 a.m.) Matchup: No. 25 USF (29-8, 3-0 The American) vs. Louisville (20-15, 2-4 The American) Location: USF Softball Stadium (1,600) Stream:BullsCast Radio:BullsCast Game Notes: USF Follow: Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook Tickets
TAMPA, APRIL 4, 2014 – The Bulls return to action this weekend when they host preseason conference favorite Louisville for a three-game series at the USF Softball Stadium.
This weekend will mark the first time No. 25 USF has played in nearly two weeks after being rained out in its series against Rutgers last weekend in New Jersey.
The Bulls and Cardinals were picked as the top two teams in the American Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll, combining to receive all eight first-place votes.
The two teams come into the game on different ends of the spectrum, however, as USF has won seven straight while the Cardinals have dropped four in a row after falling to No. 12 Kentucky on Wednesday and being swept by Houston last weekend.
First pitch for Saturday’s doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. and Sunday’s series finale will begin at 11 a.m.
Louisville comes into this weekend’s series looking to snap a four-game losing streak, including three straight losses in American Athletic Conference play. The Cardinals were selected as the conference favorite in the preseason coaches’ poll, receiving six of the eight first-place votes.
The Cardinals are one of the top hitting teams in the American with a team batting average of .301 and a .461 slugging percentage. They also rank first in the conference in runs (192), hits (286) and RBI (171), using a very balanced attack with four players posting over 30 hits and three with 23 or more RBI.
Louisville leads the all-time series with a 23-17 record against USF. The Bulls got the best of the Cardinals in the last meeting, however, with a 3-0 win in last year’s conference tournament semifinals before going on to defeat Notre Dame for the program’s first-ever Big East Tournament Title.
» The Bulls come into their series against Louisville on a seven-game winning streak and winners of 13 of their last 14 games. USF is only 17-23 against the Cardinals but won the last meeting, 3-0, in last year’s Big East Semifinal.
» For the third straight week, USF is ranked No. 25 in the USA Softball Top 25 and is receiving votes in the NFCA Coaches’ Poll.
» USF is 25-1 when scoring first this season and 13-2 when scoring in the first inning.
» USF is undefeated this season when scoring five or more runs (21-0).
» The Bulls have had at least two players record an RBI in 21 of their last 23 games and have 11 players batting .300 or better.
» USF’s pitching staff leads the American Athletic Conference in wins (29), shutouts (14), strikeouts (326) and opponent batting average (.155). The Bulls also rank 15th in the country with a staff ERA of 1.73.
» USF ranks first in the American in batting average (.310), home runs (32) and on-base percentage (.398). They also rank second in hits (282), runs (188), RBI (163) and slugging percentage (.469).
» Sara Nevins currently ranks eighth in the nation in strikeouts (173) and ranks in the top 15 in the following categories: Wins: 17 (T-7th), Hits Allowed/Game: 3.13 (6th), Shutouts: 6 (T-14th) and Saves: 3 (T-13th).
» Nevins threw her second no-hitter this season in USF’s win over UConn on March 23 and now has six total for her career. USF’s pitching staff has combined to throw nine no-hitters since the start of the 2012 season.
» Nevins is second on USF’s all-time wins list with 89 career victories. She needs only four more to pass Mo Triner for first all-time. She is also closing in on 1,000 career strikeouts, needing only 23 more to join the exclusive club.
» Kourtney Salvarola needs just one home run to pass Holly Groves (33) for first all-time in USF history. Salvarola leads the conference and is currently tied for 15th in the country with 11 homers this season.
» Kristen Wyckoff leads the American with a .412 batting average and is batting .462 in her last 10 games.
» Ashli Goff needs one more stolen base to crack the top 10 in school history with 55.
LAST TIME OUT
All three scheduled games at Rutgers were washed out last weekend. The Bulls swept Connecticut to begin conference play two weekends ago at the USF Softball Stadium. Sara Nevins threw her second no-hitter of the year in the series finale on Sunday as the Bulls rolled to an 8-0 win.
Following this weekend’s series the Bulls will host in-state rival UCF in a showdown of two of the country’s top pitching staffs. Saturday’s doubleheader is set to start at 1 p.m. and the final game of the series will be Sunday at 1 p.m. at the USF Softball Stadium. Purchase tickets HERE.
Saturday: USF Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day (Show your USF I.D. and receive a $5 ticket) / Postgame Autographs