The season is over after the Bulls finished the year at 45-16 and making the NCAA tournament once again. Coach Ken Eriksen’s team had an impressive season, so let’s break down everything they accomplished and what lies ahead in 2017.
The Bulls went 45-16 this year, including 15-3 in the AAC conference, claiming the regular season conference title in the process (huge accomplishment). The team won 23-games in a row at one point, making into the top 25 rankings and as mentioned, back into the NCAA tournament after just barely missing out last year.
During the regular season, USF batted .325 as a team as they scored 315 runs and launched 48 home runs, a new program record. They compiled at .404 OBP, .505 slugging percentage, and were 70 of 95 in total steal attempts. The pitching staff had a 2.50 ERA (.226 average against them) and struck out 294 total batters. All of these big numbers led to some bigger awards including the player of the year for Juli Weber, pitcher of the year for Erica Nunn (both were first team conference selections as well), and the coaching staff of the year in the AAC. Lee Ann Spivey and Lauren Evans were also named first team all conference while Kristen Wyckoff and Astin Donovan were named to the second team. The team accomplished so much even past these individual honors. Here is how every player did this year in the regular season.
#6 Amber Atkinson – Junior – C/DP – Citrus, FL (Lecanto HS)
Atkinson played in 23 games this year (mostly as a key defensive player). She was 3 for 11 at the plate with an RBI, scored 4 runs, drew 6 walks and was 2 for 3 in steal attempts.
#00 Meredith Bissette – Sophomore – Infielder – Raleigh, NC (Lecsville Hudson HS)
Bissette played in 15 games for the Bulls this year. She was diagnosed with Chordoma cancer and had to leave the team for treatment. She is recovering and doing well. We all hope she returns soon, MereBearStrong.
#14 Cassidy Boyle – Sophomore – Short stop – Buchanan, NY (Hendrick Hudson HS)
Boyle played in 51 regular season games (started 47) batting .316 (30 for 95) with 4 doubles, drove in 10 runs, and scored 17 runs. He had a .358 slugging percentage, drew 7 walks and had a .380 OBP as she became a solid short stop in the USF infield.
#24 Lindsey Devitt – Freshman – Infield – Jacksonville, FL (Atlantic Coast HS)
Devitt played in 29 regular season games (12 starts), going 5 for 28 at the plate with 2 doubles, with 7 RBIs and scored 5 runs. She was a key defensive player late in the year for the infield.
#38 Amber Donovan – Senior – 3rd baseman – Guilford, CT (Liberty University)
Donovan played in 14 games this regular season (3 starts), going 3 for 16 at the plate with a double, one home run, scored 5 runs, drew 4 walks and was 1 for 1 in steal attempts.
#41 Astin Donovan – Sophomore – Outfielder – Guilford, CT (Mercy HS)
Donovan was a 2nd team AAC member this year, starting all 58 games in the regular season. She was 53 for 148 (.358) with 5 doubles, 2 triples, a home run, drove in 18 runs and scored 29 more. She had a .439 slugging percentage, drew 11 walks (16 strike outs), with a .400 OBP and was 11 for 14 in steal attempts.
#99 Cheyenne Eggens – Freshman – RHP – Vienna, OH (Mathews HS)
Eggens played in 31 games, starting 17 of them. She went 6-0 (2.38 ERA) and went 82.1 innings, allowing 75 hits, 36 runs, with 27 walks and struck out 34 batters.
#10 Lauren Evans – Sophomore – Infielder – Land O’Lakes, FL (Academy at the Lakes)
Evans started 58 games at first in the regular season and was a first team AAC selection. She was 46 for 153 (.301) with 9 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs, drove in 27 runs and scored 26 more. She had a .458 slugging percentage, had 15 walks to just 22 strike outs (.375 OBP) and was 2 for 4 in steal attempts.
#2 Mia Fung – Sophomore – Catcher/Outfielder – Tampa, FL (Strawberry Crest HS)
Fung played in 58 regular season games (55 starts) and was 41 for 146 at the plate (.281) with 10 doubles, 2 triples, with 9 home runs, drove in 29 runs and scored 36 more. She had a .562 slugging percentage, had 22 walks to just 26 strike outs (.380 OBP) and was 1 for 15 in steal attempts.
#12 Emily Gaitan – Junior – RHP – Tampa, FL (Ole Miss)
Gaitan pitched in 12 games for USF (2 starts), going 0-1 while throwing 11.2 innings, allowing 18 hits, 20 runs, 18 walks and struck out 8 batters.
#29 Morgan Gross – Sophomore – Catcher – Reno, NV (Earl Wooster HS)
Gross played in 13 games this year (5 starts) and drove in a run in 8 at bats as a limited reserve for the Bulls.
#77 Rachel Ionata – Senior – RHP – Palm Harbor, FL (UMBC)
Ionata pitched in 5 games for the Bulls. She threw 4 innings, allowing 2 hits, 5 runs, 6 walks and struck out 1 batter in limited innings.
#17 Morgan Litchfield – Senior – 1B/C – Tampa, FL (Gaither HS)
Litchfield played in 17 games this year and went 1 for 13 with a double, drove in 2 runs and had 2 walks.
#8 Kassandra Moeller – Junior – 3rd baseman/Catcher – Fredricksburg, VA (Courtland HS)
Moeller played in 35 games (6 starts) and was 6 for 25 with 2 RBIs, scored 6 runs, with 5 walks (7 strike outs) and was 1 for 2 in steal attempts.
#20 Erica Nunn – Senior – LHP – Apex, NC (Holly Springs HS)
Say hello to the ace. The pitcher of the year, Nunn, went 27-10 in the regular season (1.65 ERA) and had 5 saves. She went 208.1 innings, allowing 159 hits, 62 runs, 71 walks and struck out a career high 214 batters. In the 44 games at the plate, she was 43 for 115 with 10 doubles, 4 home runs, with 30 RBIs, scored 15 runs and had 15 walks (16 strike outs). She was one of the key players to the great 2016 season.
#13 Monica Santos – Senior – Infielder – Tampa, FL (Wharton HS)
Santos played in 56 regular season games (51 starts). She batted .266 (34 for 127) with 11 doubles, 4 home runs, drove in 30 RBIs and scored 21 runs. She had 20 walks, a .360 OBP, and was 3 for 3 in steal attempts.
#19 Lee Ann Spivey – Senior – Catcher/Outfielder – Palm Coast, FL (Flagler Coast HS)
Spivey played in 56 regular season games for the Bulls. She was .323 (50 for 155) with 9 doubles, 2 triples, 15 home runs (all time record holder there now) with 41 RBIs and scored 43 runs. She had a .677 slugging percentage, 18 walks (19 strike outs), a .388 OBP, and was 4 for 6 in steal attempts and was named first team all conference in her final year.
#9 Juli Weber – Junior – Outfielder – Hegins, PA (Tri-Valley HS)
Say hello the AAC player of the year. Weber played in all 58 regular season games batting .421 (77 for 183) with 18 doubles, 3 triples, 5 home runs, drove in 38 runs and scored 48 more. She was 13 for 16 in steal attempts with a .634 slugging percentage and a .452 OBP. She was a dominate player and will be back next year to do it again.
#44 Sam Worrell – Freshman – 3rd baseman/RHP – Oviedo, FL (Hagerty HS)
Worrell played in 27 games, making 14 starts. She was 13 for 48 with 3 doubles, 5 home runs, drove in 12 runs and scored 14 more. She had 15 walks (10 strike outs), a .646 slugging percentage, and a .462 OBP.
#1 Kristen Wyckoff – Junior – 2nd baseman – Plant City, FL (Plant City HS)
Wyckoff played in 49 games (started 48) in the regular season. She batted .411 (53 for 129) with 3 doubles, 2 triples, one home run, drove in 13 runs, and scored 41 runs while being named 2nd team AAC. She also compiled a .488 slugging percentage, a .487 OPS (8 walks to 6 strike outs) and was 20 for 26 in steal attempts.
#11 Susan Wysocki – Sophomore – RHP – Cherry Hill, NJ (Camden Catholic HS)
Wysocki went 11-3 this year in 29 games (8 starts), throwing 68 innings, allowing 63 hits, 42 runs, 35 walks and struck out 37 batters during the regular season.
#15 Kenya Yancy – Sophomore – Outfielder – Bradenton, FL (Braden River HS)
Yancy played in 23 games during the regular season (6 starts) and was 7 for 20 at the plate with a double, 3 RBIs, scored 5 runs (3 walks) and had a .435 OBP).
2017 preview: The 2017 season will bring a few challenges for the Bulls. The team will be without Lee Ann Spivey, Erica Nunn, Rachel Ionata, Amber Donovan, Morgan Litchfield, and Monica Santos. That’s the ace pitcher, starting catcher, and every day 3rd baseman that the Bulls will have to replace including several key reserve players. With that said, the Bulls, along with returning the core of their nucleus, are also bringing in a talented group that will bring both pitching and power at the plate that will help bolster the roster as they prepare for the next season. Here are some of the key players that will be coming in:
Kalen McGill – McGill is from the College of Central Florida where she went 29-1 with a .58 ERA. Before that, she was at South Alabama where she compiled a 16-4 record with a 1.92 ERA. She will be a key pitcher for the staff entering 2017.
Sam Blashinsky – Blashinsky is an infielder and was a two time team captain for her prep squad.
Ana Maria Bruni – Bruni plays both infield and outfield and brings a ton of speed to the batting order.
Kelsey Lay – Lay is a 3-year starter for her prep squad and was 19-5 (.98 ERA) and can play the infield as well.
Bethany Keen – Keen is an infielder/outfielder that has a lot of power.
Lashara James – James is another power bat that can play any position in the field.
Brittney Rayfield – Rayfield is a multi-sport athlete and has home run power as well (lots of new power in this incoming group).
Brooke Hartman – Hartman had a .424 average in high school.
Britney Schmidt – Schmidt was the Sun Sentinel offense player of the year in her senior season where she drove in 37 runs.
Brooke Leistl – Leistl is another versatile bat and plus defender.
So with these incoming players, the Bulls will also return a lot of their key players. Weber, Wyckoff, Donovan, and Evans return as every day players for the Bulls along with Wysocki and Eggens in the circle. These players along with the incoming talent, the Bulls will have another loaded team that will be ready to battle again for the AAC crown and a another crack at the NCAA tournament.
On a personal note, I thought the Bulls were going to have a rough season after they started the year off on a hard note, falling to multiple ranked teams. But they proved me so wrong and I will eat my words after even questioning them.