Pitching keys 3-game sweeps for baseball, softball
USF's baseball and softball teams both opened Big East play this weekend with dominating three-game sweeps, with pitching leading the way for both Bulls squads.
We'll start with softball, which is now 29-5 after shutting out Rutgers three times, the last a 1-0 gem in which the Bulls won despite having only two hits. Sara Nevins won for the third day in a row, throwing 6.2 innings of scoreless baseball, and USF's lone run came when Kenshyra Jackson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded (on another HBP and two walks) in the fifth inning.
How dominant has USF softball's pitching been? The Bulls have allowed seven total runs in their last 15 games, and they're 14-1 during that stretch. Nevins started all three games against Rutgers, pitching 14.2 of the 17 innings. Only one team in the past 15 games has scored more than one run on USF, and that was Fairfield, which had two in USF's only loss in that run.
Baseball's three-game sweep was no less impressive, because it vaulted the Bulls to 17-8 on the season, again with dominant starting pitching to thanks. The three weekend starters -- Andrew Barbosa, Joe Lovecchio and Matt Reed -- went a combined 19.2 innings with only two earned runs allowed, as the Bulls outscored Georgetown by a 19-3 margin. That's a combined ERA of 0.92 for the starters on the weekend.
The Bulls got clutch hitting from the bottom of the lineup Sunday, with Drew Longley and Luis Llerena, batting seventh and ninth in the lineup, getting two RBIs each. James Ramsay, who had two RBIs in each of the first two wins, went 3-for-4 on Sunday. Again, back to those starters -- Barbosa goes six innings giving up one hit, Lovecchio pitches into the eighth and gives up one run, and Reed throws six solid innings and allows one earned run while his team helps him out with 13 hits.
Baseball plays host to Florida A&M on Wednesday, and the Bulls can't take it lightly, having taken in-state losses to North Florida, Jacksonville, Bethune-Cookman (twice) and UCF (twice). Softball has a much bigger challenge, traveling to face a top-five team in Florida on Wednesday -- the Bulls lost 3-2 to the Gators in eight innings in Tampa on the opening weekend of the season.