#27 South Florida Softball 2014 Preview

South Florida Bulls

Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #2 American Athletic Conference
#27 South Florida Softball 2014 Preview
South Florida Team Page


The Bulls posted a 45-16 overall record in 2013, with an 18-3 record in their last year of Big East play. Coach Ken Eriksen has an almost unparalleled resume-15 winning seasons, conference championship, a World Series appearance and Coach of Team USA. USF went 2-2 at last year’s regional, ousted 2-0 by the SEC’s University of Florida, the same team the Bulls defeated on their way to the 2012 WCWS.

2013: 45-16, 18-3
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Ken Eriksen, 18th year

Field Players:
Team Tampa returns all significant starters except standout third baseman Kenshyra Jackson, so the defense and their .972 fielding percentage should be very solid. Shortstop Kourtney Salvarola led the Bulls in almost every category with a .331 batting average, 39 runs scored, 56 hits, 43 RBIs and 13 home runs. Sophomore Lee Ann Spivey will again catch, and was second to Salvarola in most offensive categories. First base stalwart Senior Stephanie Medina chipped in six doubles, seven home runs and 28 runs batted in.

Sara Nevins gets all the hype, but the loss of the graduated Lindsey Richardson is going to hurt. While it’s true that Nevins went 26-9 with a 1.20 ERA, Richardson served up 208 strikeouts in 26 starts (Nevins had 23 starts) and her 1.09 ERA in 140 IP was third in the nation, providing flexibility in late innings and in assigning starts. In fact, with only 15 complete games in 61 starts, Eriksen’s coaching style has been to change pitchers more often than the fans change lanes on nearby Interstate 75. He simply does not let his staff finish games. The candidates to back up Nevins (who fields her position extremely well) will be returning Junior Sam Greiner (4-1, 41.2 IP), Sophomore Erica Nunn (3-2, 35.1), New Jersey freshman Susan Wysocki or junior college transfer Karla Claudio, the Florida Pitcher of the Year last year.  

Who to Watch:
If Salvarola can come close to her offensive numbers, or better yet if Medina and Spivey can carry the offense so Salvarola can concentrate on improving her .910 fielding percentage, the Bulls will be alright offensively. Keep an eye on third base…someone has to replace Jackson’s ten home runs, 36 RBIs and .983 FLD % in 170 or so chances. Freshman Kassandra Moeller is the likely candidate and, if she hits a lick, may also see time spelling Spivey behind the plate.

Final Projection:
This team’s average score was on the good side of 4-2, so it is really built around the pitching and defense. Who, if anyone, steps up as a reliable backup in the circle will be a key. While it is difficult to project the final standings of the new American Athletic Conference with perennial contenders Louisville, Houston and Memphis, look for USF to have a quality record and an invitation to the dance whether they win their way in or not.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Stephanie Medina, 1B, 178
Hits: Kourtney Salvarola, SS, 56
Home Runs: Kourtney Salvarola, SS, 13
RBIs: Kourtney Salvarola, SS, 43
Runs: Kourtney Salvarola, SS, 39
Stolen Bases: Ashli Goff, RF, 13

Wins: Sara Nevins, P, 26
Innings Pitched: Sara Nevins, P, 215.2
Strikeouts: Sara Nevins, P, 275
Saves: Sara Nevins, P, 5


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