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February 10, 2013

Bulls Sweep Double Header Saturday

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Tampa, Fla.-The USF Bulls (3-0) showed resiliency and talent while going undefeated in two games on Saturday. First they overcame an early deficit against No. 13 Michigan (2-1) taking the 3-2 win. In game two the Bulls showed Samford (2-1) just why the Bulls' pitching staff is one of the tops in the country winning 3-0.

Sara Nevins got the ball to start the game against Michigan. Nevins got off to a rough start walking the first batter she faced, and then with one out she gave up a 2-run home run to Sierra Romero.

The Bulls offense responded quickly scoring two of their own in the bottom of the inning.

A red-hot Kourtney Salvarola led USF with a single down the right field line. After Salvarola stole second Stephanie Medina got a one-out RBI single scoring Salvarola.

Kenshyra Jackson advanced the runner with a single to second. Both runners then advanced on a groundout. Freshman catcher Lee Ann Spivey hit a rocket single to the left side scoring the tying run. Spivey was called out trying to go to second and ended the inning.

USF took the lead in the sixth inning after Kenshyra Jackson hit a two-out double, and her pinch runner was driven in by a Nicolette Levine single.

Levine, who is in her first year with USF, said she was just trying to make contact.

"I was just trying to settle down and hit good pitches, anything close just swing the bat and put the ball in play. Just see what happens," she said.

Nevins recovered from the first inning homer and didn't allow a run in the remainder of her appearance. She was taken out with two outs in the seventh inning and replaced by Lindsey Richardson who got the save after two pitches.

Nevins allowed two runs on one hit, walked two, and struck out nine.

The gutsy win was a big early statement for the Bulls.

"It's a huge deal because it puts a mark on it that last year wasn't a big fluke," said head coach Ken Eriksen, "You can still compete with teams in the top 12-top 15 teams of the country, so getting the first great RPI game out of the way, I think it says a lot about our team."

Erica Nunn made her first collegiate start in the circle in game two for the Bulls.

Nunn got run support early when Kourtney Salvarola scored from third on a single by Medina in the first.

The offense struck again in the fourth when Lee Ann Spivey hit a line-drive double off of the top of the wall in left center field. Game two catcher Morgan Litchfield followed with a one-out single scoring Spivey.

Nunn was done after four innings and was replaced by Sam Greiner. Nunn allowed no runs on two hits, didn't walk anybody, and struck out seven.

The Bulls landed the final blow in the fifth with a Kourtney Salvarola monster home run to left center.

With Salvarola's effectiveness at the plate and her stellar defense, coach Eriksen says she's playing in an elite field right now.

"She's playing All-American-type shortstop right now, and her defense is going to create her offense," he said, "She's just a ball player, and you know when she comes to the plate anything can happen- a bunt, a line drive, a long shot like that. You watch her play the game, and she knows where to go with the ball."

Greiner pitched for two innings allowing no runs and one hit striking out one, and walking one. Again, Richardson was brought in to close out the game, and she did so quickly, retiring the batters one, two, three.

The Bulls will look to go undefeated for the weekend and to end the tournament on a high note when they take on FAU tomorrow at the USF Softball Stadium at 1:30 p.m.



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