Tampa, Fla. -- When talking to Sara Nevins, you get the sense she is a care-free college sophomore.
She maintains that style in the circle at the USF softball stadium. That has helped Nevins become one of the nation's most dominant pitchers.
"The one thing about Sara is she's very even keel emotionally, and that lends itself toward getting better," USF softball head coach Ken Eriksen said. "She's come a long way in a short period of time with the talent that she has."
Eriksen discovered that talent at Pinellas Park High School, where Nevins started her softball evolution.
After leading USF to a three-game sweep of Rutgers over the weekend to open Big East play, Nevins leads the nation with a 0.55 ERA.
In the three wins, Nevins struck out 15 over 14 2/3 shutout innings pitched and allowed just 8 hits.
When asked about her impressive start to her sophomore season, Nevins replied, "I just like to live in the moment."
That's understandable since the 2012 moments have been so good. USF's 29-5 record is the best start in program history.
Nevins leads the pitching staff, but junior Lindsey Richardson and freshman Sam Greiner provide a strong support system. The three pitchers have a collective 0.84 ERA, which is good for third in the nation.
"This team is probably the best team I've ever played for talent wise, but we all get along so well," Richardson said. "The locker room is just completely different."
"Probably one of the best staffs I've ever had," Eriksen said.
Nevins is the undoubted ace. She will likely get the start when her 22nd-ranked Bulls visit No. 4 Florida Wednesday in Gainesville. The Gators handed the Bulls one of their five losses, 3-2, on February 10.
Nevins has gotten better since that defeat.
"She's a pitcher now. Last year she was a thrower, a chucker," Eriksen said. "The cause and effect of actually becoming a pitcher has really been magnified in her productivity."
"Play like it's a normal game. Not be scared that it is college," Nevins said of her improvement since her freshman season. "I've been pitching since I was nine (years old), and I have a great defense and offense behind me. That's all I think about."
Travis Bell, 10 News