USF softball quietly racking up wins

- Quietly, the University of South Florida softball team had a March full of madness.

Since March 5, the Bulls have won 22 straight games - the longest streak in program history - but numbers and streaks don't mean much to the team.

"Nobody on the team is thinking about it," said senior catcher Lee Ann Spivey. "No one's really talking about it."

The only thing the Bulls are talking about is getting better, every day.

"If you go out and you make sure that the quilt has all the right pieces, it makes it a lot easier to put it together," said head coach Ken Eriksen.

Eriksen has coached teams to conference titles, super regionals and, in 2012, the Women's College World Series. This squad could be the next. As a whole, the team has the right mindset.

"This one falls into a 1-22 most mature team that I've ever coached," said Eriksen. "From freshmen all the way to seniors, most mature in how to handle adversitites, how to keep it level-headed."

USF plays one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country.

In the opening weeks, the Bulls faced teams who consistently make the postseason like Florida and Michigan. They lost to both and started off the season with a 2-7 record.

"The greatest part about what we saw early on with those teams that you're playing, you played 1, 2, 3, 8, 13 and 18, I think in your first 10 games," said Eriksen. "They were disappointed in not winning those ball games. They were angry about the way they played. To me that was a great sign."

It was.

The team came to practice hungrier than ever. Just over a month later, they're in the top 25 for the first time since 2014.

"They're not phased by much," said senior pitcher Erica Nunn. "I think that's probably one of the best qualities that we have and we have a short memory and it doesn't matter who we're playing, we're going to come out and attack."

"This is the most team-centered group I've been a part of," said Spivey. "It's awesome to be on that type of team, especially with it being my senior year, it's great to have the bond that this team has. I think it's definitely what you need in order to go to the next level."

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