TAMPA – Janine Richardson provided some late-night fireworks for Bulls' fans as she ripped a two-out bases loaded single to knock off Illinois State, 3-2, in walk-off fashion.
On a night in which the USF baseball team got a walk-off home run from Todd Brazeal to win the team’s first game in their new stadium, the Bulls’ softball team matched the excitement with a walk-off thriller of their own.
The Bulls led most of the way thanks to a stellar night offensively from freshman Stephanie Medina.
Medina finished the game 2-2 with the two round-trippers and a walk, and went 4-5 on the night with three RBI and two runs scored, accounting for all of USF’s runs on the day.
Gina Kafalas and Ashli Goff each added a pair of hits in the winning effort as well.
In the circle, Lindsey Richardson got the start and pitched the first 3.2 innings without allowing a run while surrendering three hits and striking out four.
Freshman Sara Nevins came on in relief and pitched the final 3.1 innings and allowed two runs on a seventh inning home run from Elizabeth Kay, but struck out eight in the game.
Richardson surrounded a single and a walk in the top of the first, but Illinois State stranded both runners to keep the game in a 0-0 tie.
Ashli Goff slapped a ball into the dirt in front of home plate, and was able to reach first before Birch was able to gather the ball. Goff was stranded on base when Janine Richardson lined to center to end the first.
After a quick top of the second, the Bulls got a opposite field home run by Medina to left, her first of the year, and the first by a Bull at the new USF Softball Stadium.
Both offenses remained quiet until the top of the fourth when the Red Birds chased Bowles from the game and loaded the bases, but Nevins struck out Kara Nelson to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fourth, Medina cranked a ball to deep right for the no-doubt-about-it solo home run to give the Bulls the 2-0 advantage.
The lead would stand until the two-run, game-tying bomb by Kay in the seventh which kept the Bulls alive, for the time being.
Erin Bly came on to pinch-hit in the bottom of the seventh and hustled down the line on a grounder to third, and reached when Laura Canopy dropped the ball at first. After Courtney Goff struck out, the Bulls got singles from Kafalas and Ashli Goff to load the bases with just one out.
Freshman Kourtney Salvarola grounded to short, but the Red Birds gunned Bly out at the plate for out number two.
With a 1-0 count Richardson ripped a ball that landed just inside to left field line to score Salvarola from third to give USF the walk-off victory.
The Bulls will be back in action on Sunday when they face off against No. 2 Alabama at 12:30 p.m. and Temple at 2:30 p.m.
TAMPA - The University of South Florida could not topple the Tigers on Saturday night as No. 16 Missouri kept the USF bats quiet and took the game 4-1.
The Bulls’ bats collected three hits on the night, including a one run double in the bottom of the seventh by Stephanie Medina, her second of two hits on the night.
The other USF hit came from Janine Richardson who singled and scored the Bulls' lone run in the seventh.
Fellow freshman Sara Nevins got her first start in the new USF Softball Stadium in front of another large crowd and picked up just her second loss of the season.
Nevins, the freshman from Pinellas Park, allowed the leadoff runner to reach second after a single and a stolen base, but quickly settled into the big stage by retiring the next three batters in order to get out of the first frame in a scoreless tie.
Nevins kept the high-powered Missouri offense quiet until the top of the third. After back-to-back errors by Alexis Nowell and Laura Fountain, the Tigers were able to break the scoreless tie and take the early 1-0 lead.
A leadoff double by Ashley Fleming led to the second run of the night for Missouri on a single up the middle by Marla Schweisberger to put the Tigers up 2-0. USF limited the damage by cutting down a double steal as Nowell cut the throw off from Stormi Grzybeck and threw back home in time to get the play at the plate.
Missouri doubled their lead to 4-0 after a mammoth two-run home run to center off the bat of Rhea Taylor, but Nevins was able to escape further damage by getting the final two outs of the inning with the bases loaded.
Bowles replaced Nevins in the top of the sixth, and allowed just an infield hit before retiring Taylor on a pop up to the catcher to keep the Tiger lead at four.
The Bulls have a quick turnaround as they face off against Illinois State at 8:50 p.m. as part of the USF Fairfield Inn and Suites Tampa North Tournament.