April 14, 2012
STORRS, Conn. (April 14, 2012) – The University of South Florida Bulls (39-6, 12-1) came into Storrs for a doubleheader with an undefeated BIG EAST record, but Connecticut (18-16, 7-4) was able to hand them their first conference loss. USF took the first game in extra innings by a score of 6-2, but the Huskies bounced back in the later matchup for a 7-3 victory.
The first game featured the teams’ aces keeping the batters quiet for most of the day. South Florida threw sophomore Sara Nevins while UConn had junior Kiki Saveriano (Lexington, Mass.) on the mound. They each allowed two earned runs.
The Bulls were able to get on the board in the top of the second when senior Janine Richardson raked a home run deep to left. Richardson, who went 3-4 in the game, scored again on a double in the fourth inning, giving the Bulls a two-run lead.
The Huskies struggled to cash in on opportunities through the first four innings, leaving seven runners on base (including three on third base). In the fifth, they were finally able to get to Nevins for a couple of runs.
Junior Marissa Guches (Sammamish, Wash.) beat the throw to the plate on a single to left-center by junior Brittany Duclos (Mystic, Conn.) to score UConn’s first run. The next batter, sophomore Andrea Huelsenbeck (Rockaway, N.J.), hit a hot-shot to the same spot which scored Duclos—this time without a play at the plate.
With the score tied at two, the Huskies had a runner on second with one out in the sixth when USF made a pitching change. Junior Lindsey Richardson was able to record the final five outs and force extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, the Huskies infield struggled to record outs, notching three errors in the inning. Senior Gina Kafalas reached for the Bulls on an error and eventually scored the go-ahead run on an infield single by Janine Richardson. Two consecutive errors with the bases loaded then gave USF a 6-2 lead before a double-play halted the rally.
UConn threatened with two base runners in the bottom of the eighth, but were unable to overcome the four-run deficit. Nevins, who struck out eight, returned to the mound for USF to record the final three outs as her team escaped game one with a 6-2 victory.
The second game featured two freshman starters—Lauren Duggan (Norwood, Mass.) for the Huskies and Sam Grenier for the Bulls.
UConn’s bats struck first this time courtesy of senior slugger Amy Vaughan (Somerset, Mass.). Freshman Emily O’Donnell got on board with a single before Vaughan crushed her tenth homer of the year to right-center, giving UConn the 2-0 lead.
USF was able to tie the game with runs in the second and fourth innings. Senior Ali Adelman (San Diego, Calif.) came on in relief in the fourth and allowed only one run on one hit in 3.2 innings.
In the bottom of the fourth, first-game starter Sara Nevins entered the game and inherited two base runners for the Bulls. The Huskies began playing small ball—and it worked. A sacrifice bunt by sophomore Audrey Grinnell (Saco, Maine) advanced the runners to second and third, and a squeeze bunt by senior Jen Ward (Waterford, Conn.) scored the go-ahead run. A throwing error on the next play gave the Huskies a 4-2 lead.
UConn’s offensive attack continued in the bottom of the fifth, when they were able to get to Nevins for three more runs. A series of singles including a two-run single to right field by senior Amy DeLuca (Bordentown, N.J.) gave the Huskies a 7-3 lead. Ali Adelman was able to hold this lead for the Huskies and earned the win for her efforts.
USF’s Nevins entered the day with an ERA of 0.58, but the Huskies were able to manufacture five earned runs in the 9.1 innings she was on the mound. UConn’s Jen Ward stole five bases on the day.
The Huskies return to action at 11 a.m. on Sunday for the final game of the USF series at Burrill Family Field in Storrs.