Bethune-Cookman 8, USF
Bethune-Cookman 8, USF 4May 21, 2005
Bethune-Cookman hit USF starter Bree Spence (22-14) for five runs in the bottom of the first inning and cruised to an 8-4 win over the Bulls at the Florida Softball Stadium, in a game that was delayed three hours and 23 minutes due to rain. Spence took the loss for USF despite pitching only one-third of an inning, while Lauren McCoy (20-12) picked up the win for BCC with four strikeouts. The Bulls put together a valiant rally in the top of the seventh inning, highlighted by Tiffany Stewarts two-run home run, but were unable to complete the comeback. Three USF errors in the first inning helped BCC take the early 5-0 lead in the first inning. Bethune-Cookman added a run in the third when Tiffany Bowser walked to open the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rachel Kilbert and the Wildcats also tacked on two runs in the fourth. USF scored twice in the fifth, highlighted by Carmela Liwags RBI triple, and added two more in the seventh. The Wildcats advance to their first regional final in school history, while the Bulls drop to the losers bracket to play the winner of the Florida-UCF game.
Bethune-Cookman earned its first NCAA at-large Bid and became the first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team to receive an at-large bid.
USF is making its third consecutive NCAA Regional appearance and seventh overall.
Bethune-Cookman won its first ever game vs. USF in the all-time series. The Bulls hold a 14-1 advantage in games played between the two schools.
Bethune-Cookman advances to its first regional final in school history after picking up its first NCAA Regional victory Friday vs. Florida.
USF is 11-4 this season when playing at a neutral site.
The Bulls drop to 7-17 when their opponent scores first.
The game was delayed three hours and 23 minutes due to rain. It was suspended in the top of the fourth with BCC leading 6-0.
The Wildcats have now won four of their last five games.
Tiffany Stewart hit her ninth home run of the season for USF in the top of the seventh inning.
Amber Jackson stole her team-leading 33rd base of the season for Bethune-Cookman.
Head Coach Ken Eriksen
"I think Bethune-Cookman played a fantastic game today. They came out and did the things you have to do to win the game. You have to give (Lauren) McCoy a lot of credit. She was moving the ball around, changing speeds, she is a pretty good pitcher. They have come a long way. We knew that coming into this ballgame. We watched their progress all year long. They have a kid that belongs in the Olympic program (Amber Jackson) leading off."
On USFs defensive performance:
"Any time you give a team 12 extra (offensive) opportunities, either via the walk or through errors, I dont care who youre playing, in Division I softball you cant do that. Good teams are going to take advantage of that. We lost the game but we also got beat. Bethunes on a roll right now, but we didnt do ourselves any favors out there."
Senior First Baseman Carmela Liwag
On her RBI that prevented the game from ending early:
"Driving in the run, period, was huge for us. It got us going in the direction we needed to go. It got us in the mindset that the game wasnt over."
Head Coach Laura Watten
"Were playing well, you know. Ive given Lauren McCoy the keys and shes driving the thing. Shes taking control and shes got such a great attitude, and our pitching rotation willl help her out, and Katie [Finn] helped her out today. Our offense is doing well and making some things happen so I think that we can just stay with our game tomorrow."
On winning 27 of their last 29 games:
"I think all teams progress throughout the season and you either come together and evolve or you dont. My teams always kind of evolve as the season goes along. They just figured out a way to win. They figured out how to play together, stay together, how to manufacture things and to make things happen."
Senior Pitcher Lauren McCoy
"We really dont have a choice, I mean, success is our only option. You mentally can let up here and there. With a good-hitting team like USF, its going to cost you, but when it comes down to game time, buckle down and get the job done.
"We know we have one game to win to move on to the next round and I think were gonna pretty much take it pitch-by-pitch."
-- Courtesy University of Florida