USF softball's secret weapons: Speed in a pinch
Building up to Friday night's NCAA Super Regional softball game that USF is hosting at 7 against Hofstra, we profile a unsung part of the Bulls' success that could be a key in a low-scoring game: Ken Eriksen's three prolific pinch-runners, who have combined for one hit and 34 runs this season.
The Bulls' Courtney Goff, Ilaura Reeves and Stephanie Juergens are what Eriksen calls the "ace up his sleeve" -- a small advantage on the basepaths that has paid off in close wins for USF. Speed might be one of the biggest statistical differences between USF and Hofstra -- the Bulls have 90 steals this year, while Hofstra's opponents have attempted only 26 steals, converting 18. Hofstra has 39 steals on 44 attempts.
One more stat to keep an eye on: Given the strong pitching in the game, USF has much more experience in low-scoring games. The Bulls are 15-4 in games in which they score exactly one or two runs, while Hofstra is just 8-6 in such games. Hofstra, it should be known, hasn't been shut out in nearly three months -- the Pride's only two shutouts came on Feb. 24 and Feb. 26. USF has been shut out four times, accounting for their last four losses.