SOUTH FLORIDA Bulls
Overall Record: 50-13
Conference: Big East (3rd, 17-5)
Head Coach: Ken Eriksen

vs.
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LOUISIANA STATE Tigers
Overall Record: 39-24
Conference: Southeastern (5th, 15-13)
   Head Coach: Beth Torina

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN THE BULLS AND TIGERS MEET

Venue: ASA Hall of Fame Stadium
Game Time: noon ET
TV: ESPN 2 / ESPN3 
Announcers:
   Pam Ward (play by play)
   Michelle Smith (color)
   Holly Rowe (field reporter)

Who to Watch for the Bulls: P Sara Nevins, 1.15 ERA, 31-7, 330 K; SS Kourtney Salvarola, .327, 31 R, 32 RBI; Kenshyra Jackson, .292, 24 R, 25 RBI

Who to Watch for the Tigers: DP Ashley Applegate, .217, 19 R, 6 RBI; P Rachele Fico, 20-12, 0.96 ERA, 219 K; P Brittany Mack, 15-12, 2.24 ERA, 193 K

IN THE 2012 POSTSEASON

South Florida
Regional
    def. Central Florida, 1-0 [ Box ]
    def. Florida Gulf Coast, 8-3 [ Box ]
    def. No. 5 Florida, 1-0 [ Box ]
Super Regional
    lost to Hofstra, 2-1 (11 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Hofstra, 2-1 (9 inn.) [ Box ]
    def. Hofstra, 2-1 [ Box ]
Women's College World Series
    lost to No. 4 Oklahoma, 5-1 [ Box ] [ Recap ] [ Video ]

Feature: Bulls following season plan to the letter

LSU 
Regional
    def. Texas State, 1-0 [ Box ]
    def. Texas A&M, 2-0 [ Box ]
    def. Texas A&M, 2-1 [ Box ]
Super Regional
    def. No. 8 Missouri, 6-1 [ Box ]
    lost to No. 8 Missouri, 5-1 [ Box ]
    def. No. 8 Missouri, 3-1 [ Box ]
Women's College World Series
    lost to No. 1 California, 5-3 [ Box ] [ Recap ] [ Video ]

Feature: LSU ready to write next chapter in script

Rosters: South Florida | LSU Schedules: South Florida | LSU
More Postseason: National Statistics Scoreboard  Interactive Bracket  Video  Photos

Day off is bit of 'luxory' for losing teams

Want to find the silver lining in a situation? Ask Beth Torina how. She seems to find one everywhere. 

Less than an hour after her LSU squad lost a 5-3 opening-round WCWS contest to No. 1 California, the Tigers' coach was already finding the value in the schedule that lie ahead. The losers on Day 1 get a day off before coming back into elimination play on Saturday afternoon. It's time she expects to be wisely used by the Tigers, who had two errors and gave up three unearned runs to the Golden Bears.

"I'm actually really glad we have the time, honestly, because we're facing a very different type of pitcher this next game we're coming out. So I think it will be a really good day to prepare us," Torina said at the postgame press conference. "I think this team functions much better when we feel like we have a plan, and we have some time to prepare and do that. I think that's a luxury right now that we have is having a day to practice and focus and get a game plan and prepare to execute."        

South Florida vs. LSU
 
Batting Average .261 .222
Home Runs 27 13
Runs Per Game 3.8 3.3
Stolen Bases 92 74
ERA 1.25 1.54

That 'luxory' was a bit cool and soggy as rain and much cooler-than-normal temperatures swept through the Oklahoma City area Friday afternoon. But when they hit the field, there was already an expectation of what they'd be working on.

For Rachele Fico, it's finding the rhythm that helped her ascend to No. 1 in the country this year in ERA. Despite giving up a pair of earned runs, she still holds a 0.96 ERA. And her team backed her with three runs, something that was not frequently seen during the regular season when she lost seven games where the Tigers were held scoreless.

"There were some points in the game where runners got on base, and it may not necessarily have been earned each time, but I expect more from myself," Fico said. "Even if they didn't earn their way on base, I need to shut them down, I need to do a better job of that and stop the momentum. So that's something I would like to work on, and I would expect to do more. I'm disappointed in myself for that, but I just can learn from it and get better."

The chance to put the game behind them was shared by South Florida coach Ken Eriksen. Like LSU which led 2-0 early in its contest, South Florida grabbed a 1-0 lead on No. 4 Oklahoma as pitcher Sara Nevins had shut down the Sooners. That was the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the frame, Lauren Chamberlain blasted a two-run shot to right center and the tone of the game changed for the Bulls. 

"... I want everybody to understand that we didn't win. And there's not a lot of people up here that are very happy about just competing out on that ball field [Thursday]," Eriksen said in his postgame interview. "You've got to play flawless softball to move on into the winner's bracket. And the nice opportunity that we have is to take [Friday], do some things to get better for Saturday, and come out to play."

Putting that 5-1 loss to the Sooners behind them should be easy considering their path to their first WCWS appearance. 

USF played in hostile environs at Florida, facing staff ace Hannah Rogers. The Bulls won 1-0 to move on where it lost the first game of the Tampa Super Regional to Hofstra's Olivia Galati. South Florida was unaffected as it came back to win two on Saturday.

"We've already played on the road, we've played at Gainesville, and that's a hostile environment as well.
So just having that experience, when you come into Oklahoma City, that kind of gave us a little boost of confidence and we were able to play relaxed," third baseman Jessica Mouse said after the opener. "I don't think anybody was uptight at all. We had some fun and we did what we could do. They just beat us today.  So we should come out stronger on Saturday."

                                                                                                               -- Jerry Trickie, NCAA.com

SOUTH FLORIDA QUICK HITS
► The Bulls' best position player, Jessica Mouse, is facing her old team. After finishing her undergraduate degree at LSU last spring, Mouse transferred USF for graduate school and her final year of eligibility. USF's third baseman, Mouse recorded the first WCWS hit in program history in Thursday’s loss to Oklahoma, a first inning double.

► Pitcher Sara Nevins was a USA Softball National Player of the Year top-10 finalist after twirling three no-hitters this season. Following a solid start to Thursday’s WCWS opener against Oklahoma, Nevins struggled in the middle innings, allowing five earned runs on four hits, walking five with seven strikeouts. Nevins has 330 strikeouts and just 66 walks on the season.

► Thursday’s loss was the first WCWS game in USF program history.

LSU QUICK HITS
► Of LSU’s three WCWS trips, two have been under first-year head coaches. The team’s first WCWS trip came in 2001 under coach Yvette Girouard. This year, the Tigers are led by first-year head coach Beth Torina.

► Ashley Applegate battled injury throughout 2011, playing just three games. This season, she has started 61 of 63 games, and has reached base in nine of her last 12 contests. She was LSU’s top hitter on Thursday, going 3 for 3 while scoring a run against top-seeded Cal.

► LSU has been dangerous this season when scoring first, especially in the first inning. When scoring first, the Tigers are 34-5, including Thursday’s loss to Cal. When scoring in the first inning, LSU is a perfect 16-0 on the season.