USF softball takes on Houston in AAC tournament semifinals

Posted: May 12, 2016 in Softball
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Game. On.

The Bulls, 43-13 (15-3), and regular season AAC champions are in the semifinals of the AAC tournament as they return to action. They will be facing off against Houston who beat Memphis to advance to the next round of the tournament. This game begins at 2 PM EST on Friday in Tulsa so the Bulls will have to take the field on the road as they return to action after two weeks off. 

During the regular season, the Bulls batted .328 as a team and had a staff ERA of 2.52 (opponents hit .227 against them). Leading the USF offense is Juli Weber, the AAC player of the year, who batted .432 with 48 runs scored and was 13 for 16 in steal attempts. 2nd team AAC teamer Kristen Wyckoff batted .423 during the regular season with 41 runs scored with 20 steals in 26 attempts. Lee Ann Spivey (1st team AAC) lead the Bulls with 14 home runs while batting .327 and drove in 40 runs total overall. Erica Nunn, the first team AAC member, went 26-9 during the regular season for the Bulls while throwing 196.1 innings and struck out 201 batters.

The Houston Cougars, the four seed, are 27-28 overall (9-9 in the AAC) and USF was 2-1 against them. Houston batted .289 as a team in the regular season and had a 3.68 overall ERA (opponents batted .293 against them). Note these stats do not include their game against Memphis.

Leading the Houston offense is freshman outfielder Maya Thomas who is batting .409 with 2 triples, a home run, 9 RBIs, has scored 29 runs and is 11 for 16 in steal attempts. Senior outfielder Katie St. Pierre is batting .358 with 7 doubles, 1 triples, has driven in 15 runs, scored 31 more and is 18 for 22 in steal attempts. Senior infielder Courtney Klingler is batting .306 with 5 doubles, leads the team with 13 home runs, has driven in 39 runs and has scored 26 more. They have a lot of power and even more speed which will be tough for the USF pitching staff led by Erica Nunn.

Leading the Houston staff is senior LHP Julanna Shrum who is 8-9 (3.57 ERA) and has thrown 100 innings entering the tournament, allowing 131 hits, 70 runs, 34 walks and has struck out 37 batters (contact pitcher). Freshman RHP Savannah Heebener is 8-7 (3.64 ERA) and has thrown 98 innings, allowing 124 hits, 64 runs, 48 walks and has struck out 52 batters. The USF offense will need to be sharp early and often and put the pressure on the Houston staff to get after them early in the game.

The championship game begins Saturday at noon, but first things first, we need to take care of business in this game.

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