With only six games left to go in the regular season, the softball team is right where they want to be atop of the SSC conference with 29-9 overall and 12-6 in SSC play.
“After our first week in Clearwater we expected to do really well starting 5-0 and winning the tournament. Then after the injury to one of our pitchers, it was a struggle getting back on our feet,” junior second baseman Alyssa Colletti said.
The softball team is hot after sweeping conference foe Eckerd College (27-12, 8-10 SSC) last Friday night at Turkey Complex. Senior sensation Julia Morrow started game one on the mound for the Spartans dealing her 20th win of the season. Morrow recorded 12 strikeouts in seven innings pitched, while only allowing four hits. This performance was enough to help Morrow earn back-to-back Sunshine State Conference (SSC) honors and being selected for Pitcher of the Week for the fourth time this season. Morrow has now won seven consecutive SSC games for the Spartans and has brought her season record to 21-5.
When asked if Morrow’s personal accolades help the team, Colletti said, “It continues to help her individually along the way. She wants to get better and she is very competitive while doing so. As for the team, it keeps giving us more and more faith and confidence in her.”
Senior outfielder Lindsay Dring gave Tampa a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth as the senior singled home senior first baseman Meagan Burke. Sophomore third baseman Bre Setree rounded the bases home on an Eckerd fielding error giving UT a 2-0 advantage.
The Spartans sealed the deal with a run at the top of the seventh to take a 3-0 lead on an RBI base hit by Setree to send freshman shortstop Sahrina Cortes home.The Spartans’ defense held off a comeback from the Tritons in the bottom of the inning to take the win in game one of the doubleheader. Dring led the offense with three hits in the game while Setree contributed with two base hits.
Morrow took the mound again for game two of the series earning her 21st victory of the season. She threw seven innings with 15 strikeouts and allowing no earned runs. Tampa took a 1-0 lead at the top of the fourth when junior pinch runner Meagan Brislin came around to score on an Eckerd fielding error. The Tritons quickly responded in the bottom half of the inning capitalizing off of two Spartan errors to take a 2-1 lead.
The Spartans answered in the top of the fifth to even out the score at 2-2, as senior outfielder Taylor Collins tripled to start the inning eventually scoring off a sacrifice fly by Burke. UT broke away at the top of the eight as Dring delivered an RBI that brought home Cortes which was followed by senior outfield Jenna Halper’s infield single giving the Spartans a 4-2 lead over the Tritons.
Tampa will return to action April 17th for an SSC matchup at home against Nova Southeastern University (14-17, 2-10), giving them a little over a week to prepare.
“Right now we are doing what we do best. Practicing hard, working together to get better and stronger. Not to mention taking this time to rest to help get back to top playing condition and rid some soreness,” Colletti said.
Candace Martino can be reached at email@example.com