The USF softball team returned from a 10-day layoff for exams with a tall order: Visit DePaul, the Big East co-leaders, and get a three-game sweep while (hopefully) Notre Dame lost to UConn to get the top seed for this weekend's Big East tournament in Louisville. But they came up a bit short -- one win, one loss, and one weird story.
In the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, the Bulls took down the Blue Demons 4-2. USF picked up all four of their runs in the third inning on a fielder's choice by Ashli Goff, a two-run double by Kourtney Salvarola, and an RBI groundout by Stephanie Medina. Sara Nevins pitched a complete game, allowing single runs in the 6th and 7th innings while striking out seven.
The Bulls overcame a 4-0 deficit early in the second game, taking a 5-4 lead after putting up five runs in the third inning. The Blue Demons got two back in the bottom of the fourth to regain the lead, 6-5. Then came a rain delay of a little over an hour, and after play resumed it was all DePaul. They scored four in the 5th inning and finished the game with three in the 6th to trigger the run rule, winning 13-5.
There were four players hit by pitches in that second game, which may have led to the bizarre incident that ended the series early today. Trailing 1-0, coach Ken Eriksen suddenly pulled his team off the field, leading to a forfeit (the first for any USF team since volleyball forfeited a game back in 2001).
Everyone's favorite USF superfan Doc was at the game, and here's his explanation of what happened:
Strange stuff here. It looks like we just forfeited the game. DePaul's coach was accused of threatening to have their pitcher hit one of our girls. Ken then pulled our players off the field, packed our stuff, and walked off. Top 2nd. Game over. Unbelievable.
So yeah, that just happened. Toro reminds us over Twitter that Eriksen and DePaul coach Eugene Lenti have a bit of a history with each other, and maybe this reared its head again. Personally if Lenti is threatening to plunk USF players, I think it's just another example of why the league needs to #BootDePaul. YOUR BEST SPORT IS SOFTBALL.
Wait... ours might be too? Dammit.
UPDATED: Here is the official statement from USF. It does seem to lend some credence to Doc's story, although obviously we aren't going to get any more substantial comments from them until the Big East makes some kind of ruling.
Statement Regarding USF Softball at DePaul
Today's game versus DePaul was ruled a forfeit after USF removed its team from the playing field in the bottom of the second inning and did not return.
USF has informed the Big East Conference staff of the concerns related to the safety and welfare of its team members, which led to a decision to leave the playing field. USF will have no further comment until the conference office has reviewed and addressed the matter.