TAMPA, APRIL 5, 2014 – USF grabbed an early lead and couldn’t hold onto it late in a 5-1 loss to Louisville in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at USF Softball Stadium.
Freshman Juli Weber put USF ahead with an RBI single in the third inning, but the Cardinals battled back in the sixth inning with a two-run single by Kayla Soles. Katie Keller gave Louisville some breathing room with a three-run homer in the seventh to help the Cardinals snap the Bulls’ seven-game winning streak.
USF starter Sara Nevins (17-5) took the loss after being charged with two earned runs on just three hits with nine strikeouts. The senior left-hander needs 14 strikeouts to become the first pitcher in USF history to reach 1,000.
Maryssa Becker (9-3) allowed one earned run on six hits and struck out eight in a complete-game performance for Louisvlle (21-15, 3-4).
USF (29-9, 3-1) hadn’t played a game since an 8-0, five-inning victory over UConn on March 23, but the Bulls didn’t show any rust early Saturday after their three-game series at Rutgers was canceled last weekend because of heavy rainfall in New Jersey.
Nevins struck out the side in the first inning and fanned seven of her first nine batters before the Bulls’ bats got going in the third. Junior D’Anna Devine (Morrisville, Pa.) led off with a walk, stole second and headed home to give USF a 1-0 lead on a one-out RBI single by Weber (Hegins, Pa.).
Nevins threw her second no-hitter of the season and sixth of her career in the run-rule win over the Huskies and the Pinellas Park, Fla., native kept cruising along until the fifth inning against the Cardinals. Nevins hit two batters and gave up a single to load the bases with one out, but the All-American kept Louisville off the scoreboard by getting a pop-out to second and a fly-out to left field.
Nevins exited with runners on first and second in the sixth inning with two outs and Louisville rallied to take the lead against Erica Nunn. The Cardinals loaded the bases when Paige Alford beat out of force play at second and Soles followed with a two-run single to center field.
Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader is set for a 3:45 p.m. start back at USF Softball Stadium. Like USF softball on Facebook HERE and follow @USFSoftball on Twitter.