MIAMI SHORES, Fla.—The top two softball squads in the Sunshine State Conference face off at Buccaneer Field this weekend as Barry University hosts the University of Tampa in a three-game set starting at 6:00 pm on Friday. The Bucs and Spartans are tied for first in the SSC and the winner of the series will have the inside track for the conference title.
The Bucs (30-5, 11-1 SSC) are currently ranked fourth in the NFCA national poll and have climbed steadily since first being ranked six weeks ago. The Bucs are sixth in the country in ERA at 1.32 and seventh in fielding at .977. Senior Brianna Smith leads the pitching staff. The lefty is 16-3 with two saves in 21 appearances with a 1.15 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 127.2 innings. She is second in the country with 10 shutouts and has tossed six clean sheets in seven Sunshine State Conference starts, including the opener of all four series. She ranks 20th in the country in ERA and is 26th in walks allowed. Junior Alexis Yohe has been nearly as effective, going 11-2 with a 1.63 ERA in 14 appearances. She has struck out 89 in 86 innings and has two shutouts.
Defensively, the left side of the infield has been outstanding. Third baseman Sarah Broeseker has 58 assists against only four errors, while shortstop Natalia Ojeda leads the team with 67 assists and only seven errors. Both have started every game. The Bucs have committed only 23 errors in 35 games.
Though currently only 106th in batting, the Bucs continue to improve offensively. Hitting just .261 on Feb. 25, the Bucs have hit .325 over the last 20 games to raise their average to .298. Leftfielder Alyssa Goldsmith leads the team with a .373 average and 26 RBI. She homered twice in Wednesday’s doubleheader with Palm Beach Atlantic. Ojeda has hit .365 out of her nine-spot in the order and is tied with Broeseker with 22 runs scored. Broeseker leads the team in extra-base hits with 12 doubles and three homers and has driven in 20. Grace Collins is batting .345 with a team-best 17 stolen bases and has scored 19 runs. Amber Durkin, .353, has scored 20 runs and swiped 10 bases.
The Spartans (26-4, 11-1 SSC), ranked 12th in the national poll, have been similar this year, ranking first in the country in ERA (0.69) and fourth in fielding (.979) and just 140th in batting. Pitchers Kayla Cox (0.33) and Deanna Henriott (0.94) are first and ninth in the country in ERA respectively. They are also first and second in strikeouts per game.
Offensively, shortstop Kayleen Boatwright leads the team with a .352 average and 16 RBI. Third baseman Susan Jallo is batting .305 and leads the team with 20 runs.
Friday’s single game begins at 6:00 pm, while the doubleheader on Saturday gets going at noon. All games can be heard live on the Buccaneer Broadcasting Network, powered by Stretch Internet through GameCentral.