Ashli Goff had three hits and scored the winning run in the eighth inning as the USF defeated Georgia Southern in NCAA Regional play in Gainesville.
The winning play was a squeeze play, as Goff took off from third base and Kourtney Salvarola bunted to GSU pitcher Sara Purvis. Goff slid just passed the glove of GSU catcher A.J. Hamilton for the game's only run.
The game started as a pitching duel between Lindsey Richardson and Purvis. The only hit through four innings was a bloop single to left by Ashli Goff.
Georgia Southern hardly made contact all day, as Bulls pitchers racked up 17 strikeouts. Richardson had a no-hitter and 10 strikeouts through 4.2 IP, but then gave up a long triple to catcher Andrea Tarachuk in the 5th. Goff dove for the ball in right, but it glanced off her glove and rolled toward the wall before CF D'Anna Levine could retrieve it. Richardson then gave up a walk before registering her 11th and final strikeout to end the rally. Richardson struck out every GSU batter at least once.
In three innings of relief, Sara Nevins, who is a boss, allowed no hits and struck out six to record the win.
The Bulls made solid contact all day. They lined out three times in the first two innings. Purvis only registered five strikeouts, with Salvarola and Levine getting two apiece. USF tallied 34 fouls among Purvis' 114 pitches.
The only Bull who could break through in regulation was Ashli Goff, who was 3-for-3 for the game, blooping three singles over the Eagles infield. Her sister Courtney had the Bulls only other hit.
The Bulls threatened repeatedly. In the third, Ashli Goff had a one-out single, followed by a sac bunt by Courtney Goff. Salvarola then struck out to end the threat.
In the fifth, Stephanie Juergens, pinch-running after Lee Ann Spivey walked, made it to second on another sac bunt before being caught stealing at third base to end the inning.
In the seventh, after a Kenshyra Jackson walk, Spivey bunted, but Purvis and Tarachuk collided trying to make a play. Purvis then gathered the ball but overthrew first base. Spivey was safe and Jackson advanced third base. Spivey then made it to second before Monica Santos struck out and Morgan Litchfield had another USF line out, quelling the rally
Finally, in the eighth, Ashli Goff blooped to left for her third hit. Courtney Goff followed with a grounder off the glove off GSU 2B Lexi Allen for an infield single, advancing Ashli Goff to third.
With a base open, GSU decided to pitch to Salvarola, who surprised everyone when she dropped down a bunt as Goff scored for the winning run.
With the win, the Bulls advance to the winners' bracket and will play tomorrow at 1 p.m. versus the winner of this evening's match-up between Florida and Hampton.