Houston, Texas (April 18, 2014) – USF tied the series at one game apiece after taking down No. 12 Houston 4-3 Friday night in an American Athletic Conference matchup at Cougar Field.
The Bulls improve to 22-16 on the year and 8-6 in The American while Houston falls to 28-10 overall and 5-6 in conference action.
“That was a great win for us tonight,” said head coach Lelo Prado. “The way we bounced back today was unbelievable. Our guys were ready to go from the get-go after what happened last night. Casey didn’t have his best stuff but he fought through it. Pardo pitched outstanding doing what he had to do for us to close out the ballgame.”
“We have to get ready for tomorrow and win the series.”
The win was the first for USF over a ranked opponent since last year’s 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on April 7. This also is the highest ranked team the Bulls have taken down since toppling No. 2 Florida on April 24, 2012 by a score of 5-3.
Like this did last night, USF jumped all over the Houston starting pitcher this time scoring all four runs in the first inning. Kyle Teaf began the game with a single through the left side followed by another single to leftfield by Lawrence Pardo. After a sacrifice bunt by Daniel Portales moved both runners into scoring position, Luke Maglich drove in the first run with a ground out to the shortstop.
Buddy Putnam then beat out an infield single on a chopper to second base allowing Pardo to cross the plate. Luke Borders then battled back to draw a walk before Levi Borders delivered a two-run double in the left-centerfield gap to put the Bulls in front 4-0.
Casey Grayson responded for Houston in the bottom half of the frame with a two-run blast over the right field wall to make it a 4-2 ballgame.
USF would strand five runners over the next three innings including two apiece in the fourth and fifth.
The Cougars threatened in the sixth inning getting a pair of runners into scoring position with just one out that forced USF starter Casey Mulholland from the game. Pardo showed why he was named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch list at the start of the season as he struck out both batters he faced to get out of the jam.
Houston narrowed the gap to one, 4-3, in the seventh when Ashford Fulmer ground into a double play allowing Josh Vidales to come across the plate.
Pardo tossed the final 3.2 innings to earn his second save of the season. He allowed just one run on three hits while striking out four. Mulholland (4-0) started the game surrendering two runs on six hits over 5.1 innings of work.
Teaf had the lone multi-hit performance for the Bulls going 2-for-5 with a run scored. Levi Borders knocked in a pair of runs going 1-for-4.
Jake Lemoine (5-3) suffered the loss for Houston tossing eight innings of four run ball. He allowed eight hits and walked three while punching out seven. Grayson went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored while Fulmer was 2-for-4.
USF will look to claim the series win tomorrow afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Cougar Field.