UL Softball Preview: USF
The 22nd-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball team will take on the USF Bulls on Saturday, in their fourth game in the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Florida.
The Louisiana/USF match-up is scheduled for Friday at 4 pm (cdt).
USF, members of the American Athletic Conference, is 4-4 on the season, with wins over Bethune-Cookman, Wright St., Pittsburgh, and Illinois, with losses to Florida, Michigan, Binghamton, and Tennessee.
Offensively, the Bulls are hitting a .289 with seven home runs and 29 RBI’s, along with three stolen bases.
Junior designated player D’Anna Devine, who hit a .279 a season ago, is off to a hot start this season, hitting a .417, as is sophomore third baseman Monica Santos, who is hitting a .412.
Last season, USF hit 44 home runs, and returns shortstop Kourtney Salvarola, who belted 13 last season, while leading the team with a .331 batting average, along with 43 RBI’s.
The Bulls did lose Kenshyra Jackson, who was second on the team with ten homers last season, but they still have power throughout the batting order, as evidence by their seven home runs in their first eight games.
In the circle, USF features one of the nation’s best, in senior left-hander Sara Nevins, who is 3-2 on the year, with a 2.00 ERA., after going 26-9 with a 1.20 ERA. last year.
Nevins is complimented by sophomore lefty Erica Nunn, who 1-2 on the year, along with a sparkling 0.78 ERA.
Coming off of a 45-16 record in 2013, and returning Nevins, USF is a top-25 caliber team that is capable of making a deep run in the postseason, depending on the draw.
Louisiana will play some quality teams over the weekend, but from a talent standpoint, the Bulls look to be the best one that they play.
Yeah, USF is only 4-4, but that’s very misleading, with three of their losses coming to teams ranked in the top five in the country.
Last year, the Cajuns defeated USF, 2-0, in the NFCA Leadoff Classic, as Christina Hamilton tossed a two-hit shutout, helping UL to a 4-1 record in the tournament.
If the two teams play up to their potential in their match-up, in will likely prove to be one of the better games of the entire tournament.
Louisiana will play twice on Friday, against Illinois St. at 11 am, and against James Madison at 1:30 pm.
The Cajuns will play twice more on Saturday, taking on Hofstra at 1:30 pm, and USF at 4 pm.
UL wraps-up play in the tournament on Sunday at 10 am, when they face Rutgers.
You can hear all the play-by-play action on Sports Radio ESPN 1420, and espn1420.com, beginning with the pre-game show 15 minutes prior to first-pitch for each game.