Safety Nate Allen became the second former USF player drafted, going No. 37 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Allen joins defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who was chosen as the No. 15 pick by the New York Giants, meaning Allen and Pierre-Paul will be in the same division and will face each other twice per year.

-PN

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USF won all three doubles matches and three singles matches to in a 4-0 win over Rutgers Friday morning in the first round of the Big East tournament,

The Bulls, who advanced the semifinals with the win, didn’t even have to finish the No. 2, No. 5, and No. 4 singles matches after clinching the win early.

USF, the No. 2 seed, will face the winner of the Louisville-DePaul match, which is tomorrow at 9 a.m.

-PN

The third-seeded Bulls started their Big East title defense off with a win over sixth-seeded St. John’s, beating the Red Storm 4-2.

No. 1 Wael Kilani, No. 3 Romain Deridder, No. 5 Yannick Yoshizawa, and No. 6 Juan Carlos Acuna Gerard all won their singles matches, while the Bulls took two of their three doubles matches.

USF faces DePaul, who they beat 5-2 this season, tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the semifinals.

-PN

As expected, former USF defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was picked mid-first round in the NFL draft, taken with the 15th overall pick by the New York Giants and becoming USF’s highest draft pick ever.

Pierre-Paul, who had 6.5 sacks with USF last season, was the first defensive end taken in the draft.  Most draft experts had Pierre-Paul anywhere from the late top ten range to late teens.

USF expects several more draft picks, with safety Nate Allen expected to go in the second round.

Stay tuned for updates.

-PN

In the midst of its final stretch of games this season, the USF Softball team is finally coming together, said Coach Ken Eriksen.

The Bulls (21-21, 6-5) split a double header against Pittsburgh (23-18, 7-6) on Wednesday at the USF Softball Stadium, dropping the first game 1-0 in ten innings before winning game two 5-1.

“Our pitchers gave us an opportunity to win both games today but we only hit in the second game,” Eriksen said.  “The ‘twin towers’ (Lindsey Richardson and Brittany Bowles) continued to get it done for us as they have all season.”

Despite taking the loss in game one, Richardson continued her outstanding freshman campaign, pitching a career high 9 and 1/3 innings and allowing one run on seven hits with nine strikeouts.

Richardson leads the Bulls in wins (10) and innings pitched (99 and 2/3) this season.  Her 1.83 earned run average is also best on the team.

Bowles earned the win in the second game after allowing one run on five hits in five innings.

“Our pitching and defense has been really solid for the past few weeks,” said catcher Cat Olnick.  “But we need to score more runs for our pitchers by having better at bats and concentrating on hitting the ball harder.”

Sophomore Capri Catalano recorded the save for the Bulls – her second of the season – in game two, continuing to impress since coming back from shoulder surgery last season.  She pitched two scoreless innings and struck out two.

“It is great to see (Catalano) out there and looking like she did (in 2008),” Eriksen said.  “We will see how her shoulder responds, but it is going to be tough to keep her in the bullpen if she continues to throw like she did (Wednesday).”

Catalano is 2-2 with a 3.28 earned run average in twelve appearances this season after missing all of 2009 with a shoulder injury.  As a freshman in 2008, Catalano was 17-1 with a 1.40 earned run average in 129 and 2/3 innings pitched.

The Bulls hope to continue their strong pitching of late and look to hit more consistently when they host DePaul (24-14, 8-3) for a three game set this weekend at the USF softball stadium, beginning with a double header on Saturday at noon.  DePaul is currently second in the Big East, three games behind Notre Dame.

“We have been battling through some on the field struggles with our hitting all season,” Olnick said.  “But we feel like we are coming together as a team.  We have a couple days of practice to work some of the kinks out with our bats and we’ll be ready to hit the ball well this weekend.”

-Joel Leventhal

After scoring just two runs in the final 18 innings of the weekend series at Rutgers, the Bulls scored 9 runs on 15 hits to beat Stetson on the road Tuesday 9-3.  Sophomore Matt Reed, who made his first start of the season, got the win.

Sophomore Stephen Hunt went 4-for-6 and scored three times, and sophomore Todd Brazeal has three hits and 2 RBI.

USF hosts Florida tomorrow at 7 p.m.

Full Story in Wednesday’s Oracle.

-PN

Senior receiver A.J. Love has a torn right ACL, the school confirmed late Monday evening, and will most likely miss the 2010 season.

Love, USF’s second leading receiver in catches and yards last season, suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s spring game after catching a pass.

Love tore his left ACL in the 2008 St. Petersburg bowl.  He was expected to be one of USF’s go-to receivers next season.

-PN