TAMPA, MARCH 21, 2014 – After squandering a two-run lead in the eighth inning, USF came right back in the bottom half of the frame pushing across four runs as the Bulls took down UConn 6-2 Saturday night at USF Baseball Stadium.
“We battled there in the eighth inning,” said head coach Lelo Prado. “We could have easily fallen apart. Strittmatter did a great job getting us out of the inning.”
Trailing 2-0 entering the eighth, UConn loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a walk to start off the inning. The first pitch after a pitching change hit Bobby Melley to force in a run for the Huskies.
Jordan Strittmatter (Daytona) then come on in relief for USF inducing a 6-4-3 double play which scored the game tying run before he got the next batter to fly out and get out of the jam.
Kyle Teaf (Tallahassee) began the rally in the home half of the eighth with a one-out walk followed by Nik Alfonso (Tampa) being hit by a pitch. A fly out to deep right field let Teaf advance to third putting runners on first and third with two outs. Daniel Portales (Tampa) brought home the game-winning run with a single to centerfield.
With runners on first and second, Buddy Putnam (Bartow) hit a ground ball in the infield but first baseman Melley couldn’t get the ball out of his glove for the flip at first allowing Putnam to reach. Alfonso sprinted around the bases scoring on the play making it a 4-2 USF advantage. Levi Borders (Winter Haven)drove home the final two runs of the game with a single to right field.
UConn (10-10, 0-2)again got their first two batters on in the ninth but a fielder’s choice and a double play ended the ball game giving Strittmatter his first career win.
The game was scoreless until the fourth inning when Putnam delivered a two-out, two-run homerun over the right field wall to give the Bulls a 2-0 advantage.
USF (15-7, 2-0) threatened in the seventh getting a pair of runners on but left them stranded. Through the first two games of the series, the Bulls have left 13 runners on base.
“We got to keep working on the hitting because we need to score more runs,” said Prado. “Maybe we are talking to them to much about hitting, but we’ll keep on working on it”
Casey Mulholland (Bradenton) started the game for USF going six scoreless innings allowing just four hits. Janick Serrallonga (Hialeah) through a scoreless inning while Strittmatter recorded the final six outs of the ballgame.
Anthony Marzi was struck with the loss for the Huskies going 7.2 innings. He surrendered six runs (three earned) on just three hits and a pair of walks. The left-hander also struck out nine.
The two sides will play the series finale tomorrow afternoon beginning at 1:00 p.m. at USF Baseball Stadium.