As part of her enslavement to ritual, USF left-hander Sara Nevins repeatedly pounds the ball into her glove between pitches -- and even between innings -- until it lands flush in the webbing.
The welt on her right ring finger attests to the superstition.
"It's bruised and swollen from it," the Pinellas Park alumnus said. "If I throw it low and it goes low into the glove, I feel like I'm going to throw a ball the next pitch. I have to do it like, one to three times before I get a strike."
On a warm, sunny Saturday, that discolored finger was Nevins' lone blemish of the afternoon.
The Bulls' senior ace recorded her 1,000th career strikeout in the fourth inning against UCF, then delivered an encore: her seventh career no-hitter in a 4-0 victory in Game One of a doubleheader. UCF won the second, 3-1.
Nevins is only the 80th Division I player -- and fifth active pitcher -- to hit the 1,000-strikeout mark. Her total stands at 1,003 after fanning 10 Knights and allowing only two base runners.
Her historic strikeout, of UCF's Farrah Sullivan, can be seen here.
"I guess it's cool," said Nevins (18-6), who has three no-hitters this season. "Before the game I knew I needed seven more (to reach 1,000), but I tried not to think about it."
Nevins had six strikeouts after three innings, including three in the third alone. She was perfect until allowing a leadoff walk to Jamie Ujvari in the fifth.
She got all the run support she needed in the fourth, when the Bulls (30-12) collected four runs off three hits including Juli Weber's bases-loaded two-run single.
"Instead of just working and getting behind, we just made sure we stayed ahead of everything and hit our spots and just went for the kill," Nevins said of her and battery mate Lee Ann Spivey.
"And then the defense did really great getting those tough balls."