USF softball takes on Houston for 3 games

Posted: April 18, 2014 in Softball

Kourtney Salvarola and company take on the top team in the AAC as they head to Houston (Picture credit:

The Bulls, 30-13 (4-5) are coming off of a disappointing weekend last week and are looking to bounce back and make up ground in the AAC. USF sits in 4th place while Houston, 11-1, sits atop the conference. If the Bulls want to make a run at the conference title and bolster their resume, this is the weekend to make the move. USF and Houston play two games today (2 PM and 4:15 PM) and wrap up the series on Saturday (1 PM). [more after the jump] Houston, 28-12 overall, is led at the plate by junior outfielder Tiffani McKnight who is batting .359 on the season with 4 home runs, 2 doubles, and 20 RBIs. Sophomore utility player Selena Hernandez is batting .312 with 12 doubles, 5 home runs, and has 31 RBIs on the year (lot of power). Rounding out their batting order is senior catcher Haley Outon who is batting .308 with 12 home runs and 43 RBIs. The Cougars have a very powerful batting order which will prove to be a challenge for the USF pitching staff. Sara Nevins, who is 18-7 and with 206 strike outs on the year, will need to be at her best again in order to limit the damage they can do.

In the circle, the Cougars are led by senior Diedre Outon (yes, twin of Haley). Outon is 13-5 on the year with a 2.33 ERA. She has pitched 114.1 innings, allowing 117 hits, 54 runs, 41 walks and has struck out 50 batters. Joining her is sophomore Julana Shrum who is 10-4 with a 3.26 ERA. Shrum has worked 96.2 innings, allowing 90 hits, 61 runs, 45 walks and has struck out 61 batters. Both Outon and Shrum tend to pitch to contact and do not have high strike out totals, meaning they will leave pitches over the plate.

The big hitters for USF like Kourtney Salvarola, who is batting .309 with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs, have to take advantage. Other batters such as Lee Ann Spivey and Tacoia Williams, who each have 7 home runs a piece, will need to step up as well.

USF was a favorite to win the AAC this season, but sitting in 4th late in the year and looking up is where they stand now. On top of that, the 4-5 mark and the 13 losses are not great for the resume if the Bulls are looking to make a third straight NCAA tournament appearance. USF has to tack on some wins late in the season and taking 2 out of three from Houston would be huge late in the season.

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