Georgia Southern 0 (8 in.)
South Florida 1
South Florida vs. Florida
Georgia Southern vs. Hampton (Loser Eliminated)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — South Florida edged the Georgia Southern Eagles in Gainesville Regional opener, winning 1-0 in eight innings on Friday.
Sarah Purvis tossed seven innings of shutout ball to send the game into extra innings for the Eagles, but USF struck out 18 batters on the day and converted a leadoff, bunt single in the eighth into an RBI and the game-winning run.
“That was a good game,” GSU coach Annie Smith said. “We went toe-to-toe with them and Sarah Purvis pitched her heart out for us. We knew that USF has a great pitching staff, so hats off to them, but we went toe-to-toe with them for eight innings and we can’t ask for much more than that.”
Georgia Southern’s offense got its first hit in the top of the fifth when Andrea Tarashuk legged out a two-out triple to the gap in right. The smash ended USF’s perfect game bid and was followed by a walk to Kaitlyn Johnson. A strikeout, however, ended the Eagle threat in the frame.
GSU allowed a leadoff walk to start the fifth which advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. The Bulls couldn’t advance the runner on a pop up and then ran themselves out of the inning trying to steal third base. The score remained tied at 0-0 through five innings.
With the Eagles getting to starting pitcher Lindsey Richardson, she was removed for the top of the sixth after striking out 11 and allowing just one hit and one walk.
She was replaced by Sara Nevins who fanned the first three Eagles in the sixth.
USF got a pair of runners in scoring position thanks to a leadoff walk followed by a throwing error on the Eagles in the seventh. A strikeout followed by a line out to third sent the game into extra innings. It was GSU’s third-straight trip to extra innings following a pair of 11-inning games to close the 2013 SoCon Tournament.
South Florida got a leadoff walk from Ashli Goff, her third hit of the game, to open the eighth inning. She stole second and got to third with no outs on a single by her twin sister Courtney Goff. The Bulls called a squeeze play and scored Goff on the bunt back to the pitching circle.
Purvis was handed the loss to fall to 17-15 on the season. USF’s Nevins picked up the win, her 26th of the season. She had seven strikeouts in her three innings of work. Richardson fanned 11 Eagles in the first five innings of the game, but did not factor into the decision.
With back-to-back extra innings games, Purvis stung together an 18-inning scoreless streak which tied her for the ninth longest streak in program history. That streak ended when USF scored the winning run in the eighth.
The Eagles will face the loser of Friday night’s second game between Hampton and Florida at 3:30 p.m. GSU will need a win to stay alive in the NCAA Tournament and extend the season to a 6 p.m. game on Saturday.