Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kourtney Salvarola leads USF Bulls softball hitting attack

USF junior shortstop Kourtney Salvarola says not worrying about every at-bat, good or bad, is helping her game.

Courtesy of USF

USF junior shortstop Kourtney Salvarola says not worrying about every at-bat, good or bad, is helping her game.

TAMPA — A year ago, when USF made the Women's College World Series, the Bulls leaned heavily on their pitching staff, which finished second in the nation with a 1.23 ERA.

Twice during the NCAA tournament the Bulls won by 1-0 scores, and two more times in the postseason by 2-1 margins. USF had been shut out in the first game of the Big East softball tournament, and its season ended with a 1-0 loss to LSU in Oklahoma City.

As the Bulls begin another postseason in hosting the Big East tournament, there is that same dominating pitching, again with the nation's No. 2 staff ERA. But the Bulls have added much-needed power, with 44 home runs after totaling 27 last season.

Leading that surge is junior shortstop Kourtney Salvarola, who again has the team's best batting average (.360) and 13 home runs after totaling nine in her first two college seasons.

"I don't even know how to explain what she's done," first baseman Stephanie Medina said. "She's a phenomenal shortstop, an even better hitter. The progress she's made in the past three years is absolutely unbelievable. I think back to our freshman year, us coming in together, she's become so much better, as a player, as a person, a better leader in everything."

Salvarola, a 5-foot-5 leadoff hitter, sees a more mature approach to the game, keeping an even keel and not dwelling on a bad at-bat or other mistake.

"As a freshman I would strike out then pout about it — be a freshman," she said. "Sophomore year, I'd be upset about but try not to be upset about it. Now, junior year, if I strike out, if I don't get a hit, anything where I don't do my job I'm more, 'It happens. How can I learn from it?' I went from the pouting stage to the trying-not-to-pout stage. Now I'm in the learning stage."

Coach Ken Eriksen is just as pleased to see humility in the 21-year-old, not getting too caught up in a huge game, like when she hit three home runs against Rutgers, including a walkoff shot in the bottom of the ninth.

"(She's) not taking the lows so low and not taking the highs of a three-home-run game, like 'I'm all that and a bag of chips,' " said Eriksen, happy with the leadership from juniors such as Salvarola, Medina and outfielder Ashli Goff. "She's very, very steady. … Those junior leaders, you can see that steadiness that goes on, that it's a serious business and we're going to take it one pitch at a time, one game at a time. They've been great mentors for those young kids on our team."

Salvarola came to USF from Arnold, Md., as one of the nation's top recruits, visiting national powers such as Alabama. She has made Tampa her home; her parents moved just five minutes from campus. They're at every home game, and get together for spaghetti dinners every Sunday.

The Bulls begin their postseason hoping to return to Oklahoma City after getting their first taste of the College World Series a year ago.

"I think in the back of all of our minds, that's our main goal. We all want to get back there," said Salvarola, an elementary education major who works two days a week with a fourth-grade classroom as part of her studies. "We want to get back there and do better than we did last year. It's a huge motivator."

nevins honored: USF junior Sara Nevins was honored Wednesday as the conference's pitcher of the year. Nevins (22-7, team-high 230 strikeouts), from Pinellas Park, was also a unanimous first-team pick, joining Salvarola. Third baseman Kenshyra Jackson made the second team, pitcher Lindsey Richardson made the third team. Notre Dame pitcher/infielder Laura Winter was player of the year.

. fast facts

Big East softball tournament

When/where: Today-Saturday, USF Softball Stadium.

Format: Single elimination

Today: No. 4 DePaul vs. No. 5 Georgetown, 10 a.m.; No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 8 Seton Hall, 12:30 p.m.; No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 6 Syracuse, 4 p.m.; No. 2 USF vs. No. 7 Providence, 6:30 p.m.

Ahead: Semifinals Friday at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; championship Saturday at 4, live on ESPN2

Admission: First 500 children get in free; adults get a single-session pass for $7, $5 for kids or an all-session pass for $21 for adults or $15 for kids

What to watch for: The Bulls (40-14, 18-3) outscored Providence 23-0 in a three-game sweep so they'd likely line up with Louisville in the semifinals. The Cards have the league's best RPI at 14, with Notre Dame, USF and DePaul in a row from 42 to 44. The Bulls have the league's top three pitchers in ERA — Sara Nevins (1.06), Lindsey Richardson (1.20) and Sam Greiner (1.55).

Kourtney Salvarola leads USF Bulls softball hitting attack 05/08/13 [Last modified: Thursday, May 9, 2013 12:46am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs' Doug Martin relying on strength from drug rehab to power his return

    Bucs

    TAMPA — He would not talk about the drug he abused. He would not identify the rehab facility he entered in January or how long he was there.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. NCAA: Former USF basketball assistant gave improper benefits

    Colleges

    TAMPA — Former USF men's basketball assistant coach Oliver Antigua provided impermissible benefits, including lodging at his home, for two prospective student-athletes while they received on-campus tutoring, according to findings reported to the school by the NCAA.

  3. Back to .500, Rays feel ready to roll (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Who wants to be mediocre? Middling? Average? Run-of-the-mill?

    Rays catcher Jesus Sucre tags out the Angels’ Mike Trout trying to score from second base after a perfect peg from rightfielder Steven Souza Jr. in the first inning.
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. preserves shutout with perfect throw

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The closest the Angels came to scoring off RHP Matt Andriese in Thursday's 4-0 Rays victory occurred in the first inning, when DH Mike Trout tried to score from second on a single to right. But the throw from RF Steven Souza Jr. was on the money, and Trout was out.

    "That …

    Colby Rasmus collects high fives and shoulder rubs after driving in all four of the Rays’ runs in their victory Thursday. Rasmus had two run-scoring hits a day after hitting a home run.
  5. Rays at Twins, 8:10 p.m. Friday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Twins

    8:10, Target Field, Minnesota

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (3-3, 3.76)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Chris Archer #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)