An exciting weekend as men’s and women’s basketball are closing out their seasons, softball is starting to heat up, and the #CountryClub sports produced a mix bag of results.
Baseball Struggles Against no. 1 Florida Gators
USF baseball’s disastrous start to the season continues, facing undefeated and no. 1 Florida Gators in Gainesville. On Friday, RHP Collin Sullivan got the start against the Gators, but was quickly snuffed out giving up six runs in the bottom of the first inning. Florida produced three more runs in the 7th to give them a 9-0 lead while only giving up three hits to the Bulls. Freshman outfielder Dillon Besnier got the Bulls on the scoreboard in the top of the ninth inning, blasting one over the left wall, but there wasn’t much else doing for USF as they fell 9-1.
Saturday faired much better for USF in terms of getting hits, but pitching inconsistencies through the first six innings gave the Gators a 13-0 lead going into the top of the seventh. Freshman RHP Jack Jasiak picked up the loss, giving up five runs in three innings of work. LHP Logan Lyle didn’t do much better in relief, giving up three runs in two innings. More disaster struck in the sixth inning with RHP Ben Koff giving up four runs and RHP Austin Bodrato giving up an earned run put the game well out of reach for USF.
The bats came alive for USF in the seventh, scoring three runs thanks to the help of redshirt junior Riley Hogan hitting a double to score a run. A wild pitch resulted in Nick Gonzalez getting home from third, and a sac fly by Carmine Lane allowed Riley Hogan to score. Jordan Santos hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 7th bringing the game within 8 runs, but a two run home run in the 8th by UF gave us the final score of 15-5.
On Sunday, the game ended much closer than the previous, with UF squeaking by with a 2-1 victory. RS Junior RHP Carson Ragsdale was dealing through four innings, giving up only two hits, one run and striking out 10 batters to keep the game within reach. J.D. Dutka’s double in the sixth inning to score Nick Gonzalez tied the game at 1-1. However, UF escaped in the 8th inning when freshman RHP Orion Kerkering gave up a solo home run, giving the Gators a 2-1 lead for good. and a sweep of the series.
Baseball has fallen to 5-10 on the year and will look for some sort of consistency as they have a mid-week matchup against Pitt on Tuesday and Florida A&M on Wednesday, before a weekend series against Fairfield at home.
Softball Continues to Dominate Weekend Tournaments
USF hosted a trio of programs during the Bulls Madness Tournament this weekend, including two games against UMass, two games against Iowa State, and a matchup against Wisconsin, who are receiving votes in the polls.
The Bulls started with a doubleheader on Friday evening, and quickly dismantled UMass and Iowa State. Freshman Vivian Ponn got the start in the circle against UMass, and gave up two runs in two innings of work before sophomore Brittany Hook came in relief. Hook gave up a single run while the Bulls and Minutewomen traded runs through the first five innings. In the top of the sixth, UMass took a 3-2 lead off a solo home run given up by Hook, but the Bulls erupted for six runs in the bottom of the inning.
USF scored six runs off of six hits and were assisted by three errors by the Minutewomen to put the game well out of hand. Georgina Corrick came in for relief of Hook, and got the win for the green and gold by striking out three batters.
The second game of the doubleheader, the Bulls faced Iowa State, where Georgina Corrick continued to display her dominance, going for a complete game shutout, and struck out eight batters in the process. The bats stayed hot for USF, getting 11 hits, including a 4-for-4 day by RS Junior Brook Leistl. USF went go on to win 4-0 to cap their Friday.
Saturday was another doubleheader day for softball, this time against Wisconsin and again vs UMass. Georgina Corrick tacked another notch into the record book, this time going for a program-tying record 18 strikeouts against the Badgers in eight innings of work. Corrick tied with Erica Nunn, who had 18 strikeouts against Temple in 2014. The Bulls and Badgers remained scoreless through the first seven innings, before an error gave Wisconsin an unearned run in the top of the eighth. However, the Bulls wouldn’t let Corrick’s special day end with a loss, when Dezarae Maldonado used a walk-off single to win the game for USF, 2-1.
The evening rematch against UMass saw the Minutewomen come away with a dominant 15-4 victory over USF. Going into the sixth inning, the Bulls trailed UMass 6-5, but disaster struck for freshman Vivian Ponn, who surrendered eight runs, including the walk-off three run home run to end the game.
Sunday morning capped the final game of the weekend for USF as they faced Iowa State, and once again Georgina Corrick had herself a day. Corrick threw another complete game, striking out eight batters and hitting another dinger this season. In the bottom of the third with two runners on, Corrick hit a homer to extend USF’s lead to 4-0 on the day. The Cyclones brought the game within two in the seventh inning, but Corrick quickly snuffed out any chance of a comeback, giving USF a 5-2 victory.
Softball has improved to 15-9 on the season, and will have a midweek game against Penn State on Wednesday before The Green Extravaganza Tournament hosted by USF over the weekend, where the Bulls will face off against Southeast Missouri State, Ohio University, and Iowa.
Women’s Golf Struggles at Florida Gators Invitational
Women’s golf traveled up to Gainesville for a two-day weekend invitational against some of the top programs in the country, including no. 9 Florida, no. 26 Virginia Tech, and no. 43 UCF. The Bulls finished the weekend at +76, 66 shots behind tournament winners Florida. Sophomore Ramya Meenakshisundaram led USF with a +16 score, giving her a T-16th finish. RS junior Jessica Whitting (T-39th at +19) and junior Ashley Zagers (T-42nd at +20) weren’t far behind. Rounding out the team were freshman Erika Smith (T-52nd at +22) and senior Sadie Dewinton-Davies (T-66th at +29) giving USF an 8th placed finish of a field of 12 teams.
Up next for women’s golf will be the Valspar Augusta Invitational from March 14th to 15th.
Women’s Tennis Thrashes Lehigh University
USF women’s tennis honored their late teammate Elizabeth Jones on Sunday before sweeping Lehigh University. Elizabeth Jones’ name is forever honored at the USF Varsity tennis courts, as the school unveiled a green bench with her name and “Team Warrior” that will carry on her legacy.
The team fueled by an emotional ceremony, put on a dominant performance, sweeping Lehigh 7-0, and it was hardly close. The Bulls won the doubles point after Grace Eland/Laura Perello won 6-1, and Janvhi Clark/Margriet Timmermands won 7-5. Amelie Boy/Alexandria Mjos did drop their set 6-4.
The singles points was awarded with nearly a clean sweep, with the Bulls only dropping two sets total during the singles matches. Janvhi Clark, Selin Yaylali, Alexandria Mjos, and Lucia Garrigues all swept their opponents to clinch the match for the Bulls. Laura Perello and Amelie Boy dropped a set each, but rounded out their opponents in the third sets to sweep Lehigh.
USF women’s tennis improved to 5-6 on the season, and will return to action on Thursday when they take on James Madison.
Women’s Basketball Defeats Tulane, but Dismantled by UConn in the AAC Tournament
Women’s basketball was able to advance to their seventh straight AAC Semifinal appearance after defeating no. 5 Tulane in the opening round of the AAC Conference Tournament. The Bulls, who were seeded no. 4 after posting a 10-6 record in conference play, started off sluggish against the Green Wave. USF trailed at the end of the first 18-15, but thanks to a career-high 28 points by sophomore Sydni Harvey they were able to overcome this deficit. Freshman of the Year Elena Tsineke scored 14 points to add to her stellar first season in green and gold, including this ankle breaker in the first half.
Juniors Bethy Mununga and Shae Leverett collected 14 and 11 rebounds respectively, while also helping produce turnovers in the paint and holding the Green Wave to below 30% shooting.
However, the victory over Tulane resulted in a semifinal matchup against UConn in the semifinals, where the Huskies put away USF 79-38. After another dominating Husky performance, USF will finish their season with a 19-13 overall record.
USF’s post-season play is currently hinging on a WNIT invite, where the Bulls will look to produce a 20-win season after coming up just short after an injury-filled season last year.
Men’s Basketball Shocks SMU Thanks to Laquincy Rideau
Laquincy Rideau got to live the dream of every basketball player and sunk a game winning three pointer as time expired to win the game.