New bats step up in USF softball sweep
TAMPA -- That the No. 10 USF softball team would throw a one-hitter and a shutout in Saturday's sweep of No. 13 Michigan and Samford isn't surprising, given the strong pitching staff returning from last year's College World Series squad.
More impressive, were the way USF's newcomers stepped up at the plate, coming through with key hits in support of that pitching staff. Sophomore ace Sara Nevins gave up a two-run home run in the first to Michigan -- the only hit she allowed -- but USF had answered that scoring by the end of the inning.
The tying run came on a two-out single by freshman catcher Lee Ann Spivey -- the first of three hits for her in the doubleheader -- and that score would hold up until the bottom of the sixth.
Then, with two outs, senior Kenshyra Jackson toughed out a long at-bat, fouling off multiple two-strike pitches before she lined a shot to the wall in right field for a double. With Stephanie Juergens pinch-running, sophomore Nicollette Levine, making her first start as a Bull, stepped to the plate.
Levine is a Newsome graduate who transferred from Florida State -- in her entire freshman year there, she went 0-for-4. It took her two days to get her first hit at USF, again fouling off multiple pitches with two strikes before hitting a bloop single over the first baseman's head for the go-ahead run.
Freshmen again played key roles in a 3-0 win against Samford -- pitcher Erica Nunn pitched four scoreless innings for her first career win, striking out seven, and Spivey added another hit, as did freshman catcher Morgan Litchfield.