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JACKSONVILLE, FEB. 16, 2014 – A day after scoring 13 runs and picking up 21 hits in two games, the USF baseball team continued their hot start to the season banging out 19 hits on their way to a 12-1 victory over tournament host University of North Florida in the final game of the UNF Best Bet Classic played at Harmon Stadium.
The Bulls, coming off their second straight 35+ win season, finished the weekend 3-0 and outscored their opponents 25-6 despite leaving 31 runners on base over the weekend. They also out-hit their foes 40-to-20.
It is the third time under head coach Lelo Prado that USF has begun the season 3-0.
“I am really proud of our guys for this whole weekend,” said Prado. “If we play every game like we did today, we are going to be tough to beat.”
USF (3-0) picked up just two hits in the first three innings but erupted for a four-run fourth on five hits. Three consecutive singles to begin the frame was followed up by a Buddy Putnam (Bartow, Fla.) sacrifice fly to give the Bulls a 1-0 advantage. Zac Gilcrease (Tampa, Fla.) then drove in a run on a single down the leftfield line followed by a two-run single up the middle by Michael Arencibia (Key West, Fla.) to make it a 4-0 ballgame.
The fifth inning was much of the same as three straight singles started the inning before a Levi Borders (Winter Haven, Fla.) fielder’s choice, Putnam sacrifice fly and Gilcrease single all brought home runs pushing the USF advantage to seven.
UNF (2-1) picked up their lone run in the home half of the fifth on a Donnie Dewees RBI single through the right side.
The Bulls picked up two more runs in the sixth and seventh, the big blow a two-run double off the bat of Luke Maglich (Sarasota, Fla.) in the seventh. Vincent Leto (Tampa, Fla.) capped off the scoring barrage in the ninth with a sacrifice fly that brought in Hayden Kelley (Tampa, Fla.), who began the frame with a one-out single up the middle.
The last time USF scored 10 or more runs in a game in back-to-back contests was last March 15-17 when they notched 11 runs in each game against Florida A&M.
After a tight first inning in which freshman Brandon Lawson (1-0) (Spring Hill, Fla.) walked three consecutive batters with two outs, the right-hander settled down to go five innings allowing one run on five hits. He walked just one batter over the final four innings while striking out one to earn his first college win. Michael Farley (Valrico, Fla.) tossed the next two innings allowing only one hit while Brandon Murray (Orlando, Fla.) and Tommy Peterson (New Port Richey, Fla.) also threw a shutout inning apiece.
All four pitchers USF threw on the afternoon were freshman who made their first collegiate appearance.
Maglich (3-for-5) and Daniel Portales (3-for-6) (Tampa, Fla.) each had three hits in the ballgame. Eight of the nine starters in the lineup had at least two hits. Just two of the 19 hits USF had went for extra bases.
Corbin Olmstead (0-1) suffered the loss lasting only 3.1 innings as he surrendered four runs on seven hits and a walk. All but one pitcher for the Ospreys allowed at least one run in the ballgame.
Alex Merritt had the lone multi-hit performance for UNF going 3-for-4.
USF will have a day off before returning to the diamond on Tuesday, February 18 when it travels to Fort Myers to take on Florida Gulf Coast. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Swanson Stadium.