By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - A pumped up Andrew Barbosa spelled big trouble for Georgetown on Friday night.
The senior left-hander struck out 13 and gave up just one hit in six innings of the Bulls' 6-0 win over the Hoyas in the Big East opener for both programs at the USF baseball stadium.
"Something about the Big East atmosphere gets me going," said Barbosa, who walked two before improving to 3-2 this season.
Barbosa was just three strikeouts shy of his single-game best in 2010 against Cincinnati. He was four K's away from tying the school record held by Mark Moore (1978) and Jon Alexander (1987).
"I haven't seen him that sharp," head coach Lelo Prado said. "I thought he was really good. His breaking ball was good for strikes. He got ahead and just dominated a good hitting ball club."
Barbosa, Adrian Puig, and Nick Gonzalez combined for 18 strikeouts and allowed just three hits against a Hoyas team that came in batting better than .300 and averaging more than seven runs per game.
"It's always good when those guys step in and do their jobs. It makes our jobs as coaches a lot easier," Prado said.
James Ramsay spotted USF a 2-0 lead in the first inning with his second homer of the season, a line-drive shot past the wall in right field that sent leadoff man Alex Mendez home. Ramsay came into the game with a team-best .353 batting average and five extra-base hits. His first homer of the season came March 3 in a 14-4 victory over Savannah State.
Prado has high expectations for Barbosa, the team's Friday night starter in Big East play, and the 6-foot-8 left-hander was dealing early with five strikeouts through the first two innings.
The Bulls backed up Barbosa with two more runs in the second on RBI sacrifices from Luis Llerena and Mendez. USF loaded the bases to start the inning with a leadoff walk by Zac Gilcrease and consecutive singles by Andrew Longley and Kyle Teaf.
Gilcrease put USF ahead, 5-0, with an RBI single in the third while Barbosa continued to puzzle the Hoyas with dominating off-speed pitches and an overpowering fastball late in counts. His strikeout total was up to 12 through five innings with just one hit allowed on a bunt.
"The curveball was there and everything off-speed they pretty much couldn't hit," Barbosa said.
Barbosa exited the game after 90 pitches that served as a solid sign for the All-Big East preseason selection, who is still getting back to top form after Tommy John surgery.
"I actually felt better as the game was going on. The sixth inning I was actually throwing better than I did in the third and fourth," Barbosa said.
The Bulls' offense was still in high gear midway through and increased the lead to 6-0 on an RBI single to center field by Jimmy Falla a batter after Daniel Rockhold doubled down the line in left. USF came in averaging just above five runs per game and Friday marked the Bulls' 11th contest of the season with at least five.
"I've been preaching it all week and all season. For us to be a good team we have to do the little things right and we did enough today," Prado said.
USF was picked to finish fourth in the Big East preseason coaches' poll, but the Bulls' aspirations are much higher a season removed from missing the conference tournament.
"We have to win every series, that's the main goal here," Prado said. "Now we put ourselves in a great spot. We took care of No. 1 and we have to get No. 2 tomorrow."
The Bulls look to lock up the series win 6 p.m. Saturday back at USF baseball stadium. Tickets are $6 and all children get in for free.