TAMPA, MARCH 16, 2014 – Luke Maglich delivered a pinch-hit walk-off single and Tommy Peterson tossed 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to lift USF to a 4-3 victory versus Rhode Island Saturday night at USF Baseball Stadium.
Down 3-2 in the ninth, Buddy Putnam (Bartow) began the comeback with a walk. Austin Lueck (Daytona) put down a bunt to advance him to second but Lueck also reached on the play when the second baseman dropped the throw at first base. USF took advantage of another defensive lapse by the Rams as Luke Borders (Winter Haven) put down a sacrifice bunt and reached as Rhode Island attempted to get the lead runner at third base but were unable to do so.
Keeping the untraditional inning alive, Levi Borders (Winter Haven) forced in the game-tying run as he was hit by a pitch on a 1-0 count. After a strike out, Maglich came to the plate and delivered the walk-off base hit to right field scoring Lueck.
“It was a good ballgame, but the key to the game was Tommy Peterson (New Port Richey) coming in and getting two huge outs for us,” said head coach Lelo Prado. “I am proud of the guys…we need to finish the job off tomorrow.”
Peterson came on in the seventh with runners on first and third with just one out. A passed ball put runners in scoring position before a walk loaded the bases. Peterson then struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam and keep the deficit at one, 3-2.
Another key play for the Bulls came in the bottom of the eight after a fielding error to begin the inning. With two outs, Derek Gardella singled through the left side. The Rams sent home Tim Caputo from second base on the hit but Vincent Leto (Tampa) made a perfect throw to get Caputo at the plate and again, keep it a one run ballgame.
“I was feeling real good, I knew had great guys behind me,” said Peterson. “I let them put the ball in play and let the defense make plays. Throw strikes is all it came down to really.”
USF battled back earlier in the contest as well, scoring two runs in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Daniel Portales (Tampa) drew a one-out walk and advanced to third on two wild pitches. Lueck then delivered a RBI double to right-centerfield. After Luke Borders was hit by a pitch, Levi Borders knocked in Lueck with a double down the leftfield line.
Rhode Island scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
The Bulls managed just four hits on the night but drew four walks and were hit by a pitch three times. Levi Borders drove in two runs while Lueck and Maglich (Sarasota) had the other RBIs.
Michael Farley (Valrico) started the contest going five innings in the no decision. He gave up three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three. Peterson (1-0) earned his first collegiate win after throwing the final 2.2 innings.
Steve Moyers got the nod for Rhode Island going eight strong innings allowing two runs. Brad Applin (1-1) suffered the loss surrendering two runs (one earned) in just a third of an inning. Gardella and Mike Sherburne both had three hits apiece for the Rams.
USF improves to 13-6 on the year while Rhode Island falls to 2-14.
The two sides will play the series finale tomorrow afternoon at USF Baseball Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. You can purchase tickets for the final two games HERE.