ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.- The University of South Florida could not hold off Ohio State as they fell to the Buckeyes Friday night 4-2, despite a good outing from Randy Fontanez.
The Bulls dropped to 0-4 on the season for the first time since 1981.
USF got 6.2 strong innings out of Fontanez as he fanned eight Buckeyes, the most strikeouts he has had in a game since March 8, 2008 against Savannah State. Fontanez allowed three runs, two earned on six hits, while walking two Buckeyes.
The Bulls got to Ohio State ace Alex Wimmers for two runs in the first, but he would settle in and pitch 8.0 innings allowing just those two unearned runs on five hits while striking out six and walking one.
Junior Ryan Lockwood collected a first inning single and a pair of stolen bases in four at-bats with a pair of strikeouts on the night.
Junior Carlin collected a pair of hits in the loss including an RBI in the first inning.
Freshman Jimmy Falla improved his team leading batting average to .571 after collecting one hit in three at-bats while striking out two times.
The Bulls got going early on against Wimmers and the Buckeyes, as junior Ryan Lockwood singled to right-center and stole second base. Junior Carlin singled to third, but was able to beat the wild throw which rolled all the way to the fence allowing Lockwood to score and give USF the 1-0 lead.
Sam Mende came to the plate, and laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Carlin to third, and would eventually score on a grounder to second by Stephen Hunt to put USF up 2-0 after the first half inning.
Ohio State would respond in the bottom of the second. After Stephens struck out swinging, Dew singled to center, and advanced to second on a groundout by Hallberg. Fontanez was called for a balk moving Dew to third, and he would come around to score on a double down the right field line by DeLucia.
Lockwood came up again in the top of the 3rd after a Llerena fly out, and reached on an error and stole second base for the second time in the game. The Bulls were not able to pick up the insurance run though, Carlin gounded out, and Mende stranded Lockwood at third on a deep fly ball to left.
Both aces on each team, Fontanez and Wimmers would settle into a grove and were able to hold the opposing offenses scoreless until the bottom of the seventh. The Buckeyes got their first two batters on thanks to back-to-back singles by Stephens and Dew. The Buckeyes executed a double-steal, and a wild throw by Sim allowed Stephens to score and tie the game at 2-2.
Fontanez threw a wild pitch allowing Dew to score from third giving the Buckeyes the 3-2 lead.
After falling behind Engle 3-0, Fontanez battled back to a full-count, and got Engle to foul tip it into the glove of Sim to end the inning, or so the Bulls thought. Third base umpire Mike Baker then overturned it and said the foul tip hit the dirt to keep the inning alive.
Fontanez then came back out and walked Engle on the next pitch, and was replaced by Teddy Kaufman, who got out of the inning.
Ohio State added an insurance run in eighth, and the Bulls could not come back and fell 4-2 to the Buckeyes.
USF will look to rebound, and pick up their first win of the season Saturday night, as they take on Illinois at Brighthouse Networks Field in Clearwater, Fla. at 7:30 p.m.
- USF got 6.2 strong inning out of Fontanez as he fanned eight Buckeyes, the most strikeouts he has had in a game since March 7, 2007 against Savannah State. Fontanez allowed three runs, two earned on six hits, while walking two Buckeyes.
- With the loss, USF falls to 0-4 on the season for the time since 1981. USF is now 1-4 in the BIG EAST/BIG TEN Challenge.
- USF jumped out to an early 2-0 first inning lead. It is the first time this season USF has scored first in a game.
- Junior centerfielder Ryan Lockwood swiped two bases, his first two of the season. He is now 24-33 in his career in stolen bases.
- Making his second consecutive start, true freshman Jimmy Falla went 1 for 3. He is now batting .571 on the season, which leads the team.
- By taking the loss, Randy Fontanez drops consecutive decisions for only the second time in his career.
- By going 6.2 innings, Fontanez has now went 5.0 or more innings for the 21st consectutive time.
- Junior third baseman Jonathan Koscso started his 121st consecutive game. He has never missed a start in his career.