Bulls Claim Victory in first battle of War on I-4
TAMPA, APRIL 7, 2017 – Trailing, 4-2, in the top of the ninth, the University of Central Florida rallied to tie the contest sending things into extras where senior Luke Borders (Winter Haven, Fla.) gave the University of South Florida baseball team a thrilling 5-4 win in game one of this weekend’s War on I-4 series.
The Bulls (25-5) jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a three-run fourth in which they had just one hit. Great patience at the plate resulted in four walks and a hit-by-pitch, facilitating the three men scoring.
But the Knights (23-8) would inch closer in the sixth. After getting the first two men on due to walks, a groundout and a single through the right side brought two runs across home plate, making it 3-2.
After USF made it 4-2 in the seventh, it brought in Andrew Perez (Orlando) to close the door in the ninth. Perez uncharacteristically allowed two runs, and the hosts could not respond in the ninth to send things into extras.
Sophomore Cam Montgomery (Windermere, Fla.) led off the 11th and singled in his only at bat. After two outs, Borders stepped in and drove a 0-1 pitch slowly up the middle of the infield, allowing Montgomery to score with no throw attempt made for the win.
· Borders had one of his best games of the year with a season-high three hits (3-5). He had two runs scored and two RBI, as a solo blast to right center in the seventh made it 4-2 at the time.
· Borders was the only other Bulls with multiple hits. Sophomore David Villar (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) had a double in the fourth to drive in a run, and he scored one as well.
· Junior Kevin Merrell (Odessa, Fla.) went 0-for-2, but walked four times for the second time this season, the second-most in program history.
· Senior starter Phoenix Sanders (Gainesville, Fla.) tossed 6.0 innings, allowing three hits and two runs while striking out five.
· Junior Joe Cavallaro (Venice, Fla.) three 2.0 innings in relief and allowed just one hit to pair with four strikeouts.
· Senior Mark Savarese (Palm City, Fla.) picked up the win to improve to 2-0 as a reliever.
· This was the third walk-off win for USF this season, as all three have come at home.
· It also marked the second-straight year that the Bulls have delivered the Knights a walk-off, 5-4 defeat, as Luke Maglich did so last season.
· The Bulls are now 66-59 against UCF all time and 40-25 in Tampa.
Thoughts from coach Kingston and Luke Borders
Baseball’s War on I-4 continues tomorrow with game two of this weekend’s three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and it will be the third annual Bark with the Bulls game. Fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to the ballpark and head to the team store for potential prizes, as the first 50 fans to show their pal at the store will receive a free bandana.
About USF Baseball
The University of South Florida baseball team is one of the fastest rising programs in the country. Under the guidance of head coach Mark Kingston, the Bulls reached the NCAA Regionals in 2015 for the first time in 13 years and USF followed that success with a consensus Top 10 recruiting class. Five players from that recruiting class were everyday starters in 2016 including outfielder Chris Chatfield (Riverview, Fla.), who led the team in home runs, and catcher Joe Genord (Lake Worth, Fla.), who was named the 2016 PGCBL Player of the Year. The Bulls won series from two ranked teams in 2016 (No. 21 East Carolina, No. 25 Michigan State, began the 2017 season with a series win over Iowa and earned just it’s second win over a top-five team with a 4-2 victory against No. 3 Florida State on Feb. 21. The win over FSU was part of the best start in program history thanks to a 19-game winning streak, the second-longest in USF Baseball records.
The USF Baseball program has won five conference titles and the Bulls have made 11 NCAA appearances. Follow the baseball team on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram), visit GoUSFBulls.com for the most up-to-date information, and purchase tickets for upcoming games at USFBullsTix.com. For tickets, contact the USF Ticket Office at 1-800-Go-Bulls or by going online to USFBullsTix.com.
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