TAMPA - Starter Nick Gonzalez allowed two hits in a career-high
eight innings and the Bulls' bats took care of the rest in an 11-3 win over FAMU
on Friday night.
Gonzalez (1-3) struck out five and allowed one earned run to
help the Bulls (8-10) take the opener of a three-game series at USF Baseball
"Nick Gonzalez came out and did his job again. You have to
have that out of him and we put enough runs on the board," USF head coach Lelo
Prado planned to send Gonzalez back out for the ninth but
went to the bullpen after USF put the game out of reach with a six-run eighth.
Alex Mendez and James Ramsay posted three RBIs apiece, Levi Borders went
3-for-4 and Chris Norton had two of USF's 12 hits.
"It takes a lot of stress off me as a pitcher. You don't
have to worry about anything, just keep on going out there," said Gonzalez,
whose previous career high was six innings.
USF got the scoring started in the bottom of the third when Borders
led off with a double down the left field line. Borders came around to score
one batter later when FAMU starter David Duncan threw away Nik Alfonso's sacrifice
bunt. Mendez gave USF a 2-0 lead with a sacrifice fly to right.
USF benefited from another FAMU mistake to grab a 3-0 lead
in the fourth. Jimmy Falla stole second after getting on thanks to a fielding error
and Norton drove him in with a single to right-center.
"You have to take advantage. Every chance we get to score a
run we have to do it," Prado said.
FAMU (1-18) got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth and the
Bulls got the run back in the bottom half of frame with an RBI sac fly by Ramsay after Kyle Teaf led off with a walk and a steal. Ramsay extended USF's
lead to 5-1 in the seventh with a two-out single and the rout was on three innings
Borders and Kyle Copack got things going in the eighth with RBI
singles and the Bulls didn't stop there. Mendez hit a two-run single, Ramsay
drove in his third run with a single and Falla capped off the scoring with an
RBI double to center.
Right-hander Joey Lovecchio gets the start 6 p.m. Saturday
when the Bulls look to clinch a series win back at USF Baseball Stadium.