TAMPA, APRIL 6, 2014 – The Bulls took a one-run lead in the sixth but were unable to hold off a late charge by Louisville in the seventh, falling to the Cardinals, 3-1, at the USF Softball Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
No. 25 USF (29-11, 3-3) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth on a wild play that allowed Kourtney Salvarola (Arnold, Md.) to score all the way from first. Salvarola led off the inning with an infield single and then scored when Ashli Goff (Tampa) put down a bunt single that also resulted in a throwing error by Cardinals’ pitcher Maryssa Becker.
Louisville (23-15, 5-4) only had four hits off senior ace Sara Nevins (Pinellas Park, Fla.) heading into the seventh but doubled that total and posted three runs to take a two-run lead into the bottom half of the frame.
Kelsi Jones roped a ball to right center for an RBI double to tie the game at one and Whitney Arion singled one batter later to score Jones and give the Cardinals the lead. Arion was a thorn in the Bulls’ side all weekend and went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI today in the series finale. Becker helped her own cause with an RBI single off of reliever Erica Nunn (Apex, N.C.) later in the inning to cap off the scoring.
Nevins was credited with the loss, dropping her to 17-6 on the year, after giving up seven hits and three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings of work. She did record seven strikeouts to move within seven of 1,000 for her career.
Becker kept the Bulls off balance at the plate all game long, allowing only one run on four hits while striking out seven in a complete game effort. Lee Ann Spivey (Palm Coast, Fla.) led the team at the plate as the only Bull with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 for the game.
With the win Louisville completed the series sweep marking the first time the Bulls have been swept in a conference series at home since 2010 against DePaul.
“We are just not playing very well right now,” head coach Ken Eriksen said. “I think the preparation needs to be a little bit better from the coaching staff going into the UCF series. It’s more about us than anything else right now.”
USF is back in action next weekend when they host in-state rival UCF in a crucial three-game series at the USF Softball Stadium. Saturday’s doubleheader is set for a 1 p.m. start and Sunday’s series finale will also begin at 1 p.m.