#33 South Florida Softball 2015 Preview

South Florida Bulls

Overall Rank: #33
Conference Rank: #3 American
#33 South Florida Softball 2015 Preview
South Florida Team Page


The South Florida Bulls gave Florida State everything they could handle in the Tallahassee Regional as part of a very successful 43 win campaign in 2014 under veteran head coach Ken Eriksen. The Bulls will have some reloading to do especially in the circle with the graduation of workhorse ace pitcher Sarah Nevins but the overall foundation of excellence is in place for South Florida to continue along as an NCAA Tournament caliber of team on an annual basis.

2014: 43-17, 13-5
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Ken Eriksen

Field Players:
The Bulls will have some work to do in rebuilding the offensive attack in 2015. Catcher/Outfielder Lee Ann Spivey is going to be the anchor this season that coach Eriksen will build the lineup around. Spivey hit ten homeruns and drove in 33 last season for South Florida. Infielder Kristen Wyckoff is going to be another key player to watch if she can stay healthy all season long. Wyckoff hit .395 in 44 games in 2014 and she also is lethal with her speed as she stole 18 bases in 20 attempts. Outfielder D’Anna Devine is another speed threat. She stole nine bases last season. Infielder Veronica Gajownik brings some very valuable experience as a senior to the Bulls lineup and also is strong contact hitter, hitting .322 last season.

The challenge of replacing Sara Nevins in the circle is going to be a significant one. Nevins was lights out for South Florida last year as a senior, going 29-10 with a 1.35 earned run average and 299 strike outs in 217.1 innings. It is going to be up to last year’s number two starter, Erica Nunn, to take the mantle of the ace of the Bulls pitching staff. Nunn did a nice job as the number two starter last season, as she went 11-7 with a 2.84 earned run average and limited opponents to just a .174 batting average overall in 123.1 innings. For Nunn it’s going to be very important right out of the gate to do a nice job of getting ahead of hitters and limiting walks like she did a year ago. If this happens, this will give South Florida time to grow and come together offensively.

Who to Watch:
Who will emerge as another top flight starting pitcher in the circle for the Bulls? The leading candidates are Karla Claudio, who held her own in her 14 appearances last season for South Florida. Claudio was 0-0 with a 2.71 earned run average with one start. Sam Greiner will be in the mix for more starts in the circle and will be looking to build off a successful 2014 season where she was 3-0, with four starts in 16 appearances that included one complete game.

Final Projection:
The non-conference is very heavy with home games to start the season and has some excellent matchups that will definitely test the Bulls. The opening weekend starts off with matchups against Michigan and Florida on consecutive days and it would be a huge plus if South Florida could get at least a split of these two games. Tennessee and Wisconsin also pay a visit to Tampa prior to American Athletic Conference play starting up. The key conference series will be both on the road to start and end the conference schedule as the Bulls will battle Houston on the road March 21-22, and UCF on May 2-3. If South Florida can go 3-3 or better in these six games, they will be right there in the mix for the American Athletic Conference Championship. Overall, the Bulls will have some obstacles to overcome early in the season but by May should be in position for another NCAA Tournament berth.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Lee Ann Spivey, C/OF, 151
Hits: Lee Ann Spivey, C/OF, 42
Home Runs: Lee Ann Spivey, C/OF, 10
RBIs: Lee Ann Spivey, C/OF, 33
Runs: Lee Ann Spivey, C/OF, 22
Stolen Bases: Kristen Wyckoff, IF, 18

Wins: Erica Nunn, P, 11
Innings Pitched: Erica Nunn, P, 123.1
Strikeouts: Erica Nunn, P, 158
Complete Games: Erica Nunn, P, 5


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