LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of South Florida softball team (25-13 overall, 4-2BIG EAST) suffered their second-consecutive BIG EAST conference loss to the No. 15/16 University of Louisville Cardinals (24-3 overall, 4-0 BIG EAST), 5-4, in nine innings the second game of the doubleheader.
“Louisville is a very good team,” said USF softball head coach Ken Eriksen. “You can’t give a good team extra base runners via walks and errors. Every time that extra runner reaches, you can just times it by two bases in the end and I think that caught up to us today.”
After the Cardinals took an early 2-0 lead, the Bulls rallied to tie the score at two in the fifth. Junior Ashley Bullion led off the inning with a walk. Sophomore Kelly McCarver sent a grounder to the UofL shortstop, who would attempt to get Bullion at second, but launched the ball past the covering second baseman, allowing Bullion to score and McCarver to move to third. Junior Alison Savarese singled up the middle to bring home the tying run.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Louisville’s Colby Wherry hit a two-RBI double to left field to take back the lead, 4-2.
The Bulls would even the score in the top of the seventh. McCarver reached third on a throwing error by the third baseman who would three bases. A bunt single allowed freshman Gina Kafalas allowed to reach first base safely. Junior Tara Toscano grounded out to short, but the runners each advanced a base, which plated McCarver, cutting the Louisville lead to one run. Senior Britta Giddens singled to left and Kafalas beat the throw home to even the score and force the bottom of the inning to be played.
USF held UofL scoreless in the bottom half of the inning and neither team scored in the eighth.
In the Cardinals' bottom of the ninth, back-to-back walks and a single loaded the bases with no outs. A Bulls miscue on a hit in the infield allowed the winning run to cross home and end the game.
Olnick led the Bulls with two hits and extended her hitting streak to nine games. Toscano, Giddens and Savarese each drove in a run in the second game of the afternoon.
Freshman Brittany Bowles (5-3) suffered the loss, throwing 2.1 innings and striking out three. Louisville’s Kristen Wadwell (19-3) earns her second straight victory against USF.
“You got to give Brittany Bowles a lot of credit,” said Eriksen. “She gave us a great opportunity to win tonight coming in getting a crucial strikeout. I am really proud of her in that respect.”
The Bulls will return to Tampa to face Georgetown, Sunday March 22 at 11 a.m. for a doubleheader at the USF Softball Field.