USF softball wins, advances to Sunday finals
USF softball has put itself in strong position to advance from this weekend's NCAA regionals, advancing to Sunday's finals with an 8-3 win Saturday against Florida Gulf Coast in Gainesville.
USF (47-11) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first on a two-run, two-out triple by Gina Kafalas, and Lindsey Richardson and Sara Nevins combined to keep FGCU's bats in check; Kenshyra Jackson drove in USF's first run and finished with a season-high four hits. The Bulls now have the rest of the day off, while FGCU plays tonight against the winner of today's Florida-Central Florida elimination game.
What's more, USF gets two chances at a clinching win on Sunday -- Saturday's surviving team would have to beat the Bulls twice in a row to claim the regional title. The Bulls have only advanced to Super Regionals once in their history, doing so in 2006.
Winning the first two games in an NCAA regional creates a huge advantage -- of the 16 teams to do so in last year's regionals, 15 moved on to Super Regionals, with DePaul the only exception. And of those 15 regional champs, only two needed a second game on Sunday to clinch the regional title.
There's a chance that USF could even host a Super Regional -- if UCLA doesn't win its regional, then the NCAA will decide Sunday night which unseeded team would host the Super Regional between the Gainesville and Los Angeles winners.