TAMPA - Despite a 5-for-5 performance from junior Jonathan Koscso and another four hits from junior Ryan Lockwood, the University of South Florida baseball team (3-8 overall) fell to Eastern Illinois, 7-6, on Friday afternoon in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
The Bulls rallied for four runs in the eighth inning, but came up a run short and lost the series opener. With the loss, USF Friday night starter Randy Fontanez is 0-3 on the year. Fontanez pitched 5.1 innings and struck out six Panther batters.
The Bulls were behind 2-0 in the first inning when the Panther's offense plated two unearned runs. EIU followed a USF's two out error with a single and double.
Following the top half of the first, the Bulls offense struck early when junior leftfielder Junior Carlin fisted a pitch back up the middle on a 1-0 count. The hit for Carlin ended a 0-11 streak at the plate.
Sean Buckley collected both his fourth double and RBI of the season, while plating Carlin and narrowing the EIU lead to 2-1. With the double, Buckley increased his average to .308 with runners in scoring position and cut the deficit in half with the double.
The Bulls offense would collect one run in the fifth inning when a pair of Jesuit High School products, centerfielder Ryan Lockwood and right fielder Stephen Hunt, both tagged doubles. Hunt's double with one out scored Lockwood from third.
With one out in the eighth the Bulls offense came to life. Lockwood got the comeback bid going with an RBI single to score Chad Taylor. Sam Mende followed with a double, that put two runners in scoring position and allow Lockwood to score on passed ball seconds later.
With one out in the eighth and Mende at third, Hunt stepped to the plate and was hit by a pitch in the head. Hunt shook off the pitch, advanced to first and put runners on the corners.
Two batters later, Daniel Rockhold worked the count full before fisting a pitch to center field that scored Mende from third and allowed Hunt to advance to third. On the 1-1 count, Koscso singled to centerfield and scored Hunt from third and suddenly the Bulls were only facing a 7-6 deficit.
Freshman southpaw Kyle Parker and junior Kevin Quackenbush were stellar in relief of Fontanez. Parker worked 2.2 innings while allowing no runs, one hit, and striking out two Panther batters. Quackenbush added an inning of relief and struck out the final batter of the ninth with the bases loaded to keep the Panther offense at bay. The strikeout held the Panther's scoreless for the third consecutive inning.
- Koscso went 5-5 for the first time in his career. The outing this afternoon moves Koscso's average to .286. The last Bull to have a 5-5 game was junior OF Junior Carlin on March 1, 2009 against Towson. He is the seventh Bulls to ever go 5-for-5 in a game.
- With the 5.1 innings pitched by USF starter Randy Fontanez, he has now pitched 5.0 or more innings in each of his last 23 starts.
- Lockwood joined his former Jesuit teammate, Jonathan Koscso, in the hit parade Friday afternoon, going 4-6 on the day. Lockwood and Koscso both had an RBI on the day, while Lockwood also collected two runs. The 4-6 day increased Lockwood's average to .293. Between the two they were on base nine times but only came around to score once.
- Carlin snapped a 0-11 streak at the plate in the first inning collecting a single to centerfield and scoring the first run of the game. The mini slump was preceded by a 12-game hit streak for the Carlin.
- With his fifth inning RBI double, Hunt has now had an extra-base hit in each of his last four games and has had a hit in his last five. Over the stretch he is 8-for-15 with 8 runs batted in.