SOUTH BEND - One rough inning ended a pitcher's duel for the USF softball team in the Big East Quarterfinals Thursday.
DePaul (35-19 overall, 14-8 Big East) made use of a leadoff double and mid-inning error to pour on six fifth-inning runs, sending the 19th-ranked Bulls (45-11, 17-5) home from the conference tournament.
Sophomore pitcher Sara Nevins gave up just one hit through four innings, but would not get out of the fifth. A leadoff double just under the glove of a diving Janine Richardson in right-center led things off, and after an error loaded the bases, the Blue Devils coaxed a pair of two-run singles up the middle to put the game out of reach.
Nevins was charged with all six runs, but just one was earned in the loss. Junior pitcher Lindsey Richardson came on in relief and was efficient, facing just eight batters and striking out two in 2.1 innings of work. The only batter to reach against Richardson came on an intentional walk to DePaul slugger Kirsten Verdun.
Ashli Goff provided the Bulls' first offensive threat, singling to lead off the fourth, and advancing as far as second base. Kenshyra Jackson added a one-out single in the seventh, but was left on first base.
The Bulls return home, and will know their fate for the NCAA Tournament Sunday night at 10 p.m.