TAMPA – The Bulls improved to 2-0 in exciting fashion Saturday afternoon.
Andrew Longley’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth powered USF past Michigan State, 2-1, in its second game of the Big Ten-Big East Challenge in Clearwater.
“I can’t describe It. it was unbelievable,” said Longley. “That was the best feeling I’ve ever had.”
Longley went 0-for-3 before going up to bat and hitting a bomb over the wall in left field.
“We stayed with it. We hung together and it’s great to see a senior (Longley) get a big hit like that to win the ball game,” head coach Lelo Prado said.
James Ramsay went 1-for-4 with an RBI double while honoring Lee Roy Selmon by wearing No. 63.
Each player will have an opportunity to pay tribute to Selmon by wearing the jersey.
Michigan State scored first in the top of the second inning on a two-out RBI single from Jordan Keur. USF starter Joey Lovecchio minimized the damage by getting Jimmy Pickens to fly out.
Keur hit a double off of Lovecchio in the top of the fifth inning. Lovecchio struck out Pickens and forced Ryan Jones and Kevin Goergen to ground out to get out of another jam.
The Bulls got things going in the fifth inning when Chad Taylor hit a double with two outs and Kyle Copack followed with a walk. The Bulls ended the inning on a fly-out by Alex Mendez leaving two potential runs on base.
Lovecchio’s day was over after five innings and he gave the Bulls another strong start, allowing four hits and striking out three.
The Bulls got things going again in the eighth inning when Mendez hit a double and Ramsay collected his first hit, a double, to tie the game.
USF’s Austin Adams walked one batter and struck out two in the ninth to set up the dramatic finish.
“I’m glad for the seniors and to see Adams pitch the way he did,” said Prado. “I’m very proud of our club. We are playing hard.”
The Bulls look to get another win 1 p.m. Sunday when they face Minnesota in their final game of the Challenge at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg.