After a rough start to 2016, the USF softball team broke their school record with a 23-game winning streak earlier this season. It ended a couple weeks ago with a loss to Houston, but the Bulls simply started another streak as they continued through American league play. This weekend, softball swept a three-game series at Memphis to run their current winning streak to eight games. Even better, after some wobbly pitching earlier in the year, USF's pitching has rounded into form and then some.
Before the series began Saturday afternoon, Memphis had a nice touch waiting for the Bulls to honor Meredith Bissette:
Then the ladies went to work. USF won an 8-0 run-rule game to start out the weekend as Erica Nunn pitched a complete-game shutout. In game two, Lee Ann Spivey hit a pair of home runs while Nunn shut out the Tigers again, 3-0. Then in Sunday's finale, a long USF rally in the fourth inning gave Susan Wysocki and Cheyenne Eggens plenty of run support. The Bulls won 7-0, leaving Memphis without allowing a run.
The Bulls have now won 31 of their last 32 games and are working on a 37-inning shutout streak. Pitching has typically been the program's calling card, but this season USF also has one of the top offenses in the country. Heading into the weekend, USF was ranked 13th in Division I with a .338 batting average. They have three players (Kristen Wyckoff, Juli Weber, and Erica Nunn) hitting well over .400, the team has hit 41 home runs, and their OPS (slugging plus on-base percentage) is a whopping .936.
USF is ranked in both national polls (#22 by ESPN.com, #25 by USA Today) and now they get to see how much they've improved this Wednesday when they travel to Gainesville to take on the top-ranked Florida Gators. Way back in the first weekend of the season at the USF-Wilson DeMarini Tournament, the Bulls were run-ruled 11-1 by the Gators, and it wasn't even that close. Even if they don't win, a better showing would help validate how much this team has improved since February.