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February 15, 2013

Preview: USF Set for USF 4 Tournament

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It's week two of the USF Softball season and the Bulls (3-1) are getting ready to start a three-day tournament at the USF Softball Field. The tournament called the "USF 4-Team Tournament" will include the Bulls, along with Coastal Carolina, Tennessee, and N.C. State.

Again the Bulls will look to pitching and defense as their backbone as they face a couple of very tough opponents. Offense will have to take a step up this week, especially against Tennessee, who has no problems scoring themselves.

Look for Kourtney Salvarola and rising freshman Lee Ann Spvey to continue to drive the scoring, but also expect help from the supporting cast who have surely been itching to get back on the field since that last loss to FAU.

The Bulls are looking to get back on track after a disappointing loss to FAU on Sunday to end the DeMarini tournament, to do that they will have to come face to face with NC State.

The Opponents

NC State (4-1): Plays USF on Friday at 4:15 p.m.

Fresh off of winning the championship game of the FIU Panther Invitational, the Wolfpack will be the first test of the tournament for the Bulls. The Pack got two wins over FIU and a win over Georgetown on their way to the championship game last week. Their only loss was to Kansas who they defeated 3-2 to take the top spot of the tournament. NC State will be led by sophomore pitcher Emily Weiman, who so far has spent the bulk of the time in the circle. She is 4-0, has a 2.08 ERA, and 4-to-28 walk to strikeout ratio. Offensively the Pack are led by Chelsea Tate and Hanna Sommer who lead the team with .500 and .400 batting averages respectively. The team collectively has hit six home runs, and is hitting .260. Time will tell how they fare against an impressive USF Bulls staff.

Coastal Carolina (2-3): Plays USF on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

The Bulls will have little time to reload after the NC State game before they have to take on the Chanticleers. The Chants spent last weekend at the Georgia Tech-Kennesaw State Invitational where the team had its share of ups and downs. The team won their first competition of the year against Missouri State, but dropped games to Kennesaw State and two to Georgia Tech. The Chanticleers use a three-arm rotation led by Kiana Quolas who is 1-1 with a 0.98 ERA. Although the team is only hitting .222, the Chants can rely on offense from key producers Jazmin Daigle and Bri Chiusano. The two are leading all other batters on the roster by almost .100 batting average percentage.

Tennessee (5-0): Plays USF on Saturday at 1:15 p.m.

The SEC has found its way back to the USF Softball Stadium, and in a big way. Tennessee joins the tournament with a No. 4 ranking in the nation. The Vols are undefeated after sweeping all their games at the Red Dessert Classic in Utah. The team got wins against Utah State, Idaho State, Southern Utah, South Dakota, and BYU. Tennessee is fully loaded with talented arms, the head of the pack being Ellen Renfroe, who is 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA. As a staff the rotation has a 1.93 ERA and is holding opposing batters to a .137 batting average. The Vols are explosive at the plate carrying a team batting average of .424, a slugging average of .667. Five games into the season they have hit seven home runs and 47 RBIs. It would be safe to say that statistically the Vols will be the Bulls most formidable opponent.

Ranking Rumblings

The Bulls kept their No. 12 ranking this week after beating No. 13 Michigan, but losing to unranked FAU in last week's tournament. After a hot first week the University of Florida hopped up to a No. 5 national ranking snatching the top ranked Florida team honors from USF.



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