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)

USF wins Big East softball title

TAMPA — USF won its first Big East softball championship, outlasting top seed Notre Dame 1-0 in 10 innings Saturday for the Bulls' third consecutive shutout. The win sends USF to the NCAA regions.

Junior left-hander Sara Nevins dominated for the third day in a row, striking out 12 and outpitching Big East player of the year Laura Winter, who matched the Pinellas Park High graduate well into extra innings.

"What was it, (22⅔) innings of shutout ball? That's pretty impressive to me," Bulls coach Ken Eriksen said. "This is the last of the Big East tournaments that's going to have everybody. … We beat one of the best softball lineups in Big East history with Louisville, Notre Dame, DePaul. For us to come out on top in the last one, that says a lot."

USF (43-14) broke through for its run in the 10th against the Fighting Irish (43-13) . Freshman catcher Lee Ann Spivey led off with a grounder to third and the throw to first base sailed wide, putting her at second. Another freshman, Mo Santos of Wharton High, singled and USF had runners at second and third when outfielder Ashli Goff singled off Winter's leg for an RBI.

"I love teaching, and I like to see my students get rewarded," said Eriksen, whose team made the College World Series for the first time last season. "They're doing great in the classroom, like a 3.3 (GPA) as a team. To play flawless softball, they work hard. They work really, really hard, and they have fun."

The pitchers dominated through nine innings — Nevins took a perfect game into the sixth, and both pitchers allowed two singles each as the only base­runners after seven innings. Nevins (25-7) struck out 12 and Winter 11, and Nevins did this in the same week her father, Joe, suffered a heart attack and had bypass surgery.

Senior Lindsey Richard­son came in for the final out, getting a strikeout to seal an amazing run of pitching. The inning's second out might have been the game's best, as Notre Dame's Cassidy Whidden hit what looked to be a single to right, only to see Goff, from Sickles High, field it and throw quickly to first for a rare 9-3 groundout.

This is only the second time a Big East champ didn't allow a run in the tournament, the first since Connecticut in 1990, the conference's first season of softball.

The Bulls have an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament and will learn their fate tonight in the draw (10 p.m., ESPNU). They're unlikely to host a region, but Eriksen said he hopes their strong play this weekend gives them a chance.

USF wins Big East softball title 05/11/13 [Last modified: Sunday, May 12, 2013 12:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

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

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 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)