The top ranked Florida women’s softball team will host a top 25 opponent in the South Florida Bulls today in Gainesville.
The last time these two teams met, it was the opening weekend of the season. The result of that game was similar to that of a lot of the other games this season for the Gators; a dominating performance and a notch in the win column. The 11-1 win in the USF Wilson-Demarini Tournament over South Florida helped extend Florida’s non-conference win streak, a streak that now sits at 29 games.
USF comes in having just swept conference foe Memphis on the road, and are ranked as high as 20 in some polls, while holding a 39-10 record. USF head coach Ken Eriksen says he didn’t expect the team to be as good as they’ve been this season, but the pitching staff has stepped up.
The impressive pitching staff is led by pitcher Erica Nunn, who has a 21-6 record. Eriksen says that Nunn has been consistent this season, and that she’s progressed during her time down in Tampa.
The Bulls have also been having success this year with their bats; they rank 10th in batting average nationally with a .339 mark and have scored over seven runs in four of their past seven games. They boast four hitters batting .400 or better. Eriksen says the team has just been trying to make contact with the ball, and that simple approach has been paying off.
The Gators come in with a record of 41-3, having just swept then fifth ranked Louisiana-Lafayette in a three game series last weekend. Eriksen heaped praise on the Gators, saying that the program is one that many teams “aspire” to be like.
The Gators are led by one of the nation’s best defenses, which they’ve leaned on throughout the season. They have a nation’s best 0.84 ERA and have committed only 19 errors so far this season. Pitcher Delaney Gourley has spearheaded a strong pitching staff, posting a 13-2 record to go with a team high 143 strikeouts.
Although the Gators come into the game ranked the number one ranking in RPI and the major national polls, Eriksen says the game is going to come down not to what the rankings say, but how the teams execute on the field.