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Stephen F. Austin | March 5 | Norman, Okla.

NORMAN, Okla. - The University of South Florida baseball team could not hold a one-run ninth inning lead as the No. 17 Oklahoma Sooners rallied for a 5-4 win in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman, Okla.

USF starter Randy Fontanez was outstanding for the Bulls going 7.0 innings and allowing just two runs on seven hits while striking out seven Sooner batters. Oklahoma scored a run in each of the first two innings, but then Fontanez threw five scoreless innings to finish his day. Twice Fontanez pitched his way out of bases-loaded jams.

The Bulls came up empty in the first and second innings after the leadoff man reached in both frames, but would finally break into the scoring column in the third inning.

With two outs, junior leftfielder Junior Carlin singled up the middle and advanced to third as the Oklahoma centerfielder let the ball roll through his legs and all the way to the wall.  Junior Ryan Lockwood then dropped a perfect bunt to plate Carlin and cut the Sooner lead to 2-1.

Carlin extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a 2-for-5 outing and is now hitting .394 on the season.

Stephen Hunt would continue the rally in the fourth inning with a double down the right field line for his second hit of the afternoon. USF loaded the bases as Sean Buckley was hit by a pitch and Daniel Rockhold earned a walk.  Up to the plate came Luis Llerena, who was in search of his first hit of the season.

Llerena sent a 0-1 offering into centerfield to plate Hunt and Buckley and give the Bulls a 3-2 lead.

On the day, Llerena would pick up three hits, after entering the game 0-for-8 on the season.

USF added a fourth run in the sixth and it was a familiar face doing the damage with two outs. Llerena blooped a single to shallow right center, which scored Buckley easily and extended the Bulls lead to 4-2.

The score would remain 4-2 until the eighth inning when reliever Kyle Parker gave up a solo home run.  Parker was relieved by Kevin Quackenbush, who was able to limit the OU damage in the eighth.

USF went into the ninth inning with a 4-3 lead.

After retiring the first two batters, Quackenbush gave up a single and a walk to put the winning run on base.  Pinch hitter Chad Kettler tied the game with an RBI single and Caleb Bushyhead would end it with a single to right.

The loss moved Quackenbush to 0-2 on the season.

USF falls to 1-7 on the season.  The Bulls will be back in action tomorrow at Noon EST when they take on Stephen F. Austin.