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May 20, 2013
GAINESVILLE -- They say all good things come to an end, and for USF softball (45-16) it has come to that time after falling to the Florida Gators (55-7) Sunday afternoon 2-0. Because of regional double-elimination rules, the Bulls would've had to beat the Gators twice to advance, but were unable to get past game one.
"I'm proud of the way a young University of South Florida bounced back after a devastating game yesterday against the University of Florida," said Bulls head coach Ken Eriksen. "Sometimes things aren't working, but if you can put that stuff behind you it says a lot about your program, and I'm so proud of the way our team battled today."
Springing back from an ugly 11-1 loss against Florida yesterday, Sara Nevins (26-9) and the Bulls held their own. Everything was set even with Florida through the first 3 innings statistically. Then came trouble in the fourth.
Nevins walked the first batter, who was moved to second on a fielder's choice. USF chose not to pitch to Lauren Haeger in this situation because she recorded 7 RBI against the Bulls in yesterday's game. They intentionally walked her. They advanced bases on a wild pitch, and with the pressure bearing down on her, Nevins walked the next two batters to give UF the 1-0 lead.
Another hit batter later, and the Gators were up 2-0.
Florida scored all of their runs without getting a hit. They actually did not record a hit until the seventh inning when Kelsey Stewart hit a single.
"I honestly thought if we get no hit this is the first time I can remember winning a game like that," said Gators head coach Tim Walton. "Sara today was really, really good. I think she was as tough as she's been on us in a couple years."
Nevins started and re-entered the game pitching 6.1 innings. She allowed two runs, one hit, and she struck out and walked six.
Lindsey Richardson came on for two-thirds of an inning to log some time in her final game as a Bull. She retired both, striking out one.
"You can never replace a Lindsey Richardson," said Eriksen of the departing senior. "She's always been the ace up the sleeve, and you always had her. She was our Mariano."
The Bulls were able to get three hits today-all individual singles. That's just kind of how it's been for USF of late, they couldn't get the bounces in their favor.
"It's about pitching, good defense, and timely hitting, and we did not have timely hitting this weekend whatsoever," said Eriksen.
USF's offense was only able to bring around three runs this regional weekend, a lack of offense that many Bulls fans haven't seen since the beginning of the season.
Although the pitching and defense was very good, USF was never able to stand up against the strong play of Florida.
"It's tough to end any season," said Eriksen. "You have to play fantastic ball in the postseason, and we played very good ball, but we didn't play fantastic ball, Florida did."