JACKSONVILLE -- Despite jumping out to a 3-0 first inning lead, the University of South Florida baseball team (22-27) fell victim to a pair of five-run innings by the host North Florida Ospreys (27-21) during a 15-9 loss in the Bulls final non-conference game Wednesday night at Doug Harmon Stadium.
The two Sunshine state schools combined to score 24 runs on 33 hits, but also stalled the action with by seven errors and 26 men left on base. The teams combined to use 15 pitchers with USF using nine.
The night started out promising as the Bulls sent eight men to the plate and pushed across three runs in the opening stanza while right-hander Andrew Salgueiro sat the Ospreys down in order.
The good fortune would be short lived for the 'Green and Gold' as the North Florida attack came alive.
UNF rattled off 11 unanswered runs including five in the third and fifth innings, while five Osprey relievers combined to squash any type of Bulls rally to preserve the win.
USF eventually mounted some offense by scoring in each of the final four innings, including a two-run pinch hit homer by Jimmy Falla in the ninth inning, but the late rally was not enough.
The Bulls did pound out 15 hits on the night including four from Luis Llerena. Llerema drove in two on a two-run single in the seventh. He also scored twice as well.
Tood Brazeal, Ryan Lockwood and Junior Carlin each collected two hits apiece for the Bulls.
As the Bulls offense tried to narrow the gap, the UNF lineup answered with one in the sixth and three in seventh to maintain the margin.
In addition to collecting his team leading 18th double of the season at the plate, Stephen Hunt made his 2010 pitching debut and struck out the side in the eighth inning. The outing was the first for Hunt since May 28, 2009 against UConn during the BIG EAST Tournament when he threw 2.0 innings of scoreless relief.
Senior Matt Quevedo took the loss for the Bulls. After entering the game in third following Salgueiro pre-determined 2.0 inning start. Quevedo (2-2) gave up five runs on five hits and last just 0.2 innings.
USF will now return to Tampa to take on first-place Connecticut in the final home series of the season and the final games at Red McEwen Field, the Bulls home since the 1960s.