By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA, FEB. 22, 2014 – USF’s bats continued to make a ton of noise in an 11-7 victory over Penn State on Saturday before a crowd of 1,607 at USF Baseball Stadium.
The Bulls (6-0) have outscored their competition, 60-15, this season after getting solid production throughout the lineup to lock up the series win. Luke Maglich went 2-for-5 with a solo homer, Daniel Portales and Michael Arencibia each went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Luke Borders hit his first homer as a Bull during a five-run third inning.
“They’ve stayed locked in and we have more players and bodies to go to. If they don’t stay locked in there are guys on the bench ready to play,” head coach Lelo Prado said.
Penn State headed to the bottom of the third with a 5-0 lead after ending USF starter Casey Mulholland’s night early. The junior right-hander from Dunedin, Fla., was charged with five earned runs and gave up five hits while throwing four wild pitches in his second outing as a Bull.
Penn State (2-3) committed six errors in the series opener and another mistake in the field by the Nittany Lions paved the way for a five-run third inning by the Bulls – all with two outs.
Kyle Teaf and Nik Alfonso got the rally going with walks and a single by Maglich loaded the bases before a fielding error by Penn State second baseman Taylor Skerpon resulted in three USF runs. The Bulls got even with the Nittany Lions when Borders, a freshman from Winter Haven, Fla., followed with a two-run homer over the right field wall.
“We’re not going to be ahead every game, so it was good to see that happen today,” Prado said.
The Bulls’ bats stayed busy during a three-run fourth inning after loading the bases for the second straight frame. Zac Gilcrease (Tampa) walked with one out, Arencibia (Key West, Fla.) singled through the right side and Teaf packed the bags with a perfectly placed bunt down the third base line.
The Bulls’ offense kept the scoring going during a two-run fifth inning that started with a single by Levi Borders. Gilcrease drew a one-out walk and Arencibia followed with an RBI single to right-center field. An RBI groundout by Teaf pumped the Bulls’ lead up to 10-5.
USF’s 19-1 victory over Penn State on Friday featured a homer by freshman Vincent Miniet and Maglich kept the power surge going with a solo homer in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game.
The Nittany Lions clawed back with two runs in the seventh, but that was it against a USF bullpen that performed well after Mulholland’s exit. Joe Adel gave up an earned run on three hits in three innings, and Jordan Strittmatter and Lawrence Pardo combined for three hitless innings.
“We just have to keep building on this and staying positive,” Prado said.
The Bulls will go for the series sweep when the teams meet back up 1 p.m. Sunday at USF Baseball Stadium. Purchase tickets HERE.