USF (40-14) will meet host Florida (53-7) today at 1 p.m., with the winner of that game moving into the championship round Sunday. Georgia Southern (32-29) faces Hampton (33-25) in an elimination game today at 3:30 p.m.
USF pitchers Lindsey Richardson and Sara Nevins battled the Eagles’ Sarah Purvis all afternoon, with the teams combining for five hits.
“We knew going into the ballgame that Sarah Purvis is a heck of a pitcher and that she was going to keep the ball away from our bats,” USF coach Ken Eriksen said. “I felt like our pitching staff was going to keep putting up zeroes.”
After opening the day with three straight balls, Richardson settled into a groove and struck out eight of nine batters on her first trip through the lineup. She took a perfect game into the fifth inning before allowing a triple and a walk. She got out of the jam with her 11th strikeout.
Nevins finished the game, striking out seven of the nine she faced in three perfect innings.
Purvis was nearly as good for the Southern Conference champion Eagles, limiting the Bulls to two hits before Ashli Goff came up in the bottom of the eighth. Goff hit a bloop over second baseman Lexi Allen — her third hit in a 3-for-3 day — before her sister Courtney moved her to third with a single through the right side with no outs.
Leadoff batter Kourtney Salvarola ended the game, putting the ball in play with a bunt that allowed speedy Ashli Goff to race home.
“I knew (Salvarola) would get a bunt down, so I was just running as hard as I could to beat the play at home,” Ashli Goff said.
In the UF win, Alyssa Bache (9-0) allowed two hits and no earned runs, and Lauren Haeger and Kelsey Horton (Durant) had two RBIs each. Horton and Taylore Fuller had homers.
FSU WINS: Lacey Waldrop threw a five-hitter, allowing no earned runs while striking out 11, as Florida State won 5-2 to advance to the winners’ bracket in the Mobile Regional. FSU will face the South Alabama-Mississippi Valley State winner today at 2 p.m.