USF softball takes on South Carolina in NCAA regional tournament

Posted: May 16, 2014 in Softball

Game on.

For the third straight year, USF is in the postseason and for a change, they are not heading to the Gainesville regional portion of the bracket. Instead, they are heading to the Tallahassee region and will square off against South Carolina in the first game (double elimination) of the NCAA tournament (game begins at 4:30 PM and can be seen on ESPN 2).

USF finished the season at 41-15 (13-5) while USC finished at 35-20 (11-13 in the SEC). The other two teams in the bracket are host FSU (50-6, 24-3 in ACC) and Fordham (36-18, 13-3 in Atlantic 10). 

USC: At the plate, USC is led by senior utility player Ashlyn Masters who is batting .356 with 19 doubles, 3 triples, 6 home runs and has 30 RBIs on the season. Freshman 1st baseman/catcher Kaylea Snaer is batting .301 with 9 doubles, 8 home runs, and has 35 RBIs on the year. Freshman infielder Victoria Williams is batting .299 with 5 doubles, 4 home runs, and has 23 RBIs. Junior catcher/3rd baseman Sarah Mooney is batting .299 with 6 doubles, 11 home runs (leads the team), and has 33 RBIs to round out the heart of their batting order.

USC has a very powerful batting order, but they haven’t seen a pitcher like Sara Nevins and her 1.42 ERA before. Nevins had a rough outing against Louisville, but a little time off and a team that has never seen her should lead to a favorable match-up for the Bulls.

In the circle, USC is led by junior RHP Julie Sarratt who is 17-10 on the year with a 2.76 ERA and 4 saves. She has worked 160 innings, allowing 143 hits, 63 runs, 61 walks, and has struck out 136 batters. Joining her is freshman RHP Nickie Blue who is 17-10 on the year with 7 saves and a 3.04 ERA. She has worked 163.1 innings, allowing 163 hits, 89 runs, 73 walks, and has struck out 145 batters. The two pitchers give USC a tough, one-two punch in the circle. Both of them can come in at any time and handle any situation on the field.

The big bats for USF, Stephanie Medina, Kourtney Salvarola, Lee Ann Spivey, and the plate setters like Juli Weber and Ashli Goff who are always on base, have to come up big for the Bulls. They struggled to get going the last time out but should be able to get back and hammer out some runs.

The winner of this game will face the winner of the FSU vs. Fordham game. The loser will face the other losing side. Below is the scouting report for both teams that USF could face depending on the outcome of the first game.

FSU: Florida State is the host team and rightly so, they are a powerful team. At the plate, they are led by junior short stop Maddie O’Brien. O’Brien finished the regular season batting .442, with 17 doubles, 23 home runs (not a typo), and drove in 80 runs. She is a monster at the plate and has even more help around her. Senior outfielder Courtney Senas is batting .343 with 11 doubles, 4 triples, 13 home runs and has driven in 50 runs. Senior 2nd baseman Tiffani Brown is batting .319 with 5 doubles, 20 RBIs, and has stolen 25 bases in 29 attempts. Senior 3rd baseman Brianna Hamilton is batting .313 with 8 doubles, 9 home runs, and has driven in 35 runs. If USF faces FSU (never know), Sara Nevins will have to pitch a near perfect game to deal with the power of their batting order. Its a scary lineup that can do damage from top to bottom.

On the mound for FSU is junior RHP Lacey Waldrop who is 33-4 on the year with a .96 ERA (yikes!). She has worked 218.1 innings, allowing 136 hits, 30 runs, 68 walks, and has struck out 256 batters. Joining her is freshman RHP Jessica Burroughs who is 17-1 with a 1.92 ERA. She has worked 105.2 innings, allowing 73 hits, 33 runs, 43 walks, and has struck out 113 batters. Like their offense, FSU has a nasty pitching staff that will be a huge challenge for the Bulls or anyone to get a run against.

Fordham: Fordham is led at the plate by senior infielder Elise Fortier who batted .384 in the regular season with 12 doubles, 19 home runs, and drove in 70 RBIs. Freshman infielder Amy Van Hoven is batting .375 with 12 doubles and has 9 RBIs on the year. Senior catcher Gabby Luety is batting .340 with 13 home runs and has 44 RBIs. Junior infielder Kayla Lombardo is batting .325 with 10 home runs and has 35 RBIs. Fortier is the big bat the USF pitching staff will have to look out for but others like Luety will be just as dangerous, giving no breaks from top to bottom in their batting order.

Fordham has used at 4 pitchers this year, all recording wins. Their top pitcher is junior RHP Michelle Daubman. Daubman is 18-10 with a 2.58 ERA. She has worked 154.2 innings, allowing 149 hits, 57 runs, 26 walks, and has struck out 70 batters. The high hit total but low strike out number shows that Daubman will pitch more to contact and the lack of runs allowed shows the defense behind her fields well. It will be very tough for the Bulls to move runners along and hit in key situations.

Overall, this is a very tough regional bracket, but USF has been tested by the best from the very beginning of the season. Let’s see what the ladies can do.

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