TAMPA - USF's game against the New York Yankees was everything you'd expect from an exhibition of David vs. Goliath.
There were cringes, cheers, lots of oohs and aahs and a very happy Bulls team after Friday's 11-0 loss to the 27-time World Champions.
"Some of these guys will never step a day on a big league field. It's a great experience, something they'll never forget for the rest of their lives," USF head coach Lelo Prado said.
Two Bulls definitely won't forget their afternoon playing in front of 7,792 fans at Steinbrenner Field. Daniel Rockhold went 2-for-2 and starter Matt Reed gave up just one run in two innings against Yankee stars like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.
Rockhold produced USF's first hit with a line-drive single up the middle in the top of the second inning and he now has a story to tell for many years to come.
"Mark Teixeira came up to me after I got our first hit and was like, 'Hey, first major league hit. Congratulations,'" Rockhold remembered. "I was like, 'Thanks, man.' I didn't know what to say."
Reed gave up an RBI single to Curtis Granderson in the first inning but avoided any more damage in his two frames.
"I really feel truly blessed about coach Prado and everybody else for giving me the opportunity to get the start against the Yankees," he said. "It's something you can't really explain. The feeling is just amazing."
Reed's only run allowed went unearned because of a throwing error in Jeter's at-bat in the first. He worked out of trouble in the second when Eduardo Nunez tripled, but was stranded when the left-hander got Gustavo Molina to pop out.
Surprisingly enough, Reed said he wasn't nervous and was happy doing his thing the whole time.
"I saw Derek Jeter in the box and I was like, 'This is Derek Jeter. This is sweet. Let's go,'" Reed said.
USF wound up with four hits and its pitchers ended up really seeing what professionals can do at the plate before it was over. Still, the Bulls didn't complain one bit after the game was in the books.
"I was kind of a little jittery at first, but it was fun," Rockhold said. "The whole day has been great, hitting BP and watching and interacting with those guys. It was really cool."
USF quickly shifts its attention to Saturday's doubleheader at home against Savannah State. The Bulls will play three at the USF Baseball Stadium, starting Saturday at 3 p.m. and continuing Sunday at 1 p.m.
Rockhold said Friday's experience could end up benefitting the Bulls when real baseball resumes.
"It's a lot different. The game is a lot faster. I feel it will help us," he said. "A game like today moved pretty fast and everything. I feel like we adjusted to it pretty well. Going into the next game and going into the rest of the season, I think we have a really good shot."