By KY-SHON HEPBURN
Special to GoUSFBulls.com
TAMPA - The Bulls were able to even the three-game series on Saturday.
USF (19-9, 4-1) defeated Notre Dame, 11-6, before a crowd of 1305 at USF baseball complex.
"Our guys came out ready to play tonight," said head coach Lelo Prado. "Everybody produced tonight."
The Bulls struck first in the bottom of the second inning to take a 2-0 lead.
Freshman third baseman Zac Gilcrease led the charge with a leadoff double. Kyle Teaf reached first base because of an error by their shortstop, therefore advancing Gilcrease to third base. Teaf moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Luis Llerena and Alex Mendez singled to score Teaf and Gilcrease before getting caught in a rundown.
Teaf hit an RBI-bunt single to score Jimmy Falla and extend the Bulls lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Fighting Irish were able to get on the scoreboard in the fifth inning.
Charlie Markson picked up an RBI that scored Joe Hudson and cut the Bulls lead to 3-1.
Senior Daniel Rockhold has reached base in all 22 games he has played in.
Rockhold extended his on base streak when he hit his second homerun of the series to make the score 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Notre Dame battled back and batted in three runs in the sixth inning.
Frank DeSICO reached on a throwing error, Eric Jagielo followed with a two-run shot to left field and Ryan Bull hit a sac-fly to tie the game at 4.
The Bulls regained the lead with a two-run sixth inning.
Llerena singled down the left field line to score Andrew Longley and Chad Taylor singled to center field to score Llerena and put the Bulls up 6-4.
Starting pitcher Joey Lovecchio pitched 6.2 innings allowing eight hits, four runs and three strikeouts.
"Joe has been solid for us all year," said Prado. "It starts on the mound and we scored some runs for him."
Nick Gonzalez and Adrian Puig relieved Lovecchio (6-0) pitching a combined 2.1 innings allowing three hits, two runs and two strikeouts.
USF's bats came alive scoring five runs in the seventh inning.
Falla led the charge on a double to left center that scored Rockhold from first base. Llerena hit a bases loaded two-run double, Teaf scored on a wild pitch and Llerena scored on a sac-fly by Mendez to give the Bulls an 11-4 lead.
"We had great at bats with guys in scoring position," said Prado.
Notre Dame threatened in the eighth and ninth innings, but was only able to pick up two runs.
"I feel good where we're at, but we have to come tomorrow and try to get the series," said Prado.
The Bulls hope to clinch the season series against Notre Dame at 1 p.m. on Sunday at USF baseball complex.