Tampa (April 26, 2014) – USF rallied scoring the game’s final five runs to defeat Memphis 5-3 in an American Athletic Conference matchup Saturday night at USF Baseball Stadium.
USF improves to 24-18 on the year and 10-7 in The American, while Memphis evens its record to 22-22 overall and 4-10 in league play.
“We had some great at-bats in crucial situations,” said head coach Lelo Prado. “I was really proud of Jordan (Strittmatter) there to close it out and Janick (Serrallonga) pitched great keeping us in the ballgame. This is a great win for us but we need to come back tomorrow and finish the job.”
Memphis was able to take advantage of a couple of USF defensive miscues in the first inning that led to two unearned runs for the Tigers. What looked like an inning ending double play turned into the game’s first run when the ball sailed into centerfield before Carter White doubled home the second run.
UM got its final run of the game in the third inning off a Tucker Tubbs sacrifice fly to centerfield plating Jake Little and giving the visitors a 3-0 lead.
USF didn’t picked up its first hit until the fourth inning and had a pair of runners in scoring position during the frame but were unable to push across a run.
The Bulls finally cracked through an inning later knotting the game at three-all. USF got their first two batters on in the frame and were bunted over into scoring position by Nik Alfonso. Austin Lueck then singled to centerfield notching JSF's first run. Next up was Kyle Teaf who pushed a bunt past the pitcher for an infield base hit setting up a first and second situation with one out. Zac Gilcrease also came home on the Teaf bunt single making it a 3-2 contest.
Daniel Portales loaded the bases with an infield single on a high chopper over the pitcher’s head before Luke Borders drilled a pitch into right field for a sacrifice fly that pushed Lueck across the plate tying the ballgame.
In the seventh, Luke Borders again delivered, this time with the go-ahead RBI with a single up the middle plating Lueck once again. Vincent Miniet came on to pinch-hit for the Bulls and knocked in a crucial insurance run with a double down the leftfield line giving USF a 5-3 advantage.
Janick Serrallonga was big for the Bulls in relief getting out of a jam in the fifth inning on his way to firing 3.2 innings of scoreless ball to earn his second win of the year. Jordan Strittmatter closed the door in the ninth to pick-up his fourth save of the season. Casey Mulholland started the game giving up all three runs, only one of which was earned, in 4.1 innings of work.
Offensively, Lueck, Gilcrease and Luke Borders each had two hits on the night to lead USF’s 10-hit parade.
Jon Reed (5-2) was struck with the loss for Memphis going 6.2 innings. He allowed four runs, two earned, on six hits and a walk while striking out three. Little and Kane Barrow paced the Memphis offensive attack going 2-for-4 and 2-for-3, respectively.
USF will look to earn their first American Athletic Conference sweep of the season tomorrow when the two sides meet in the series finale at USF Baseball Stadium. First pitch has been moved up to 11:30 a.m.