DELAND, APRIL 11, 2017 – Trailing, 6-3, in the eighth inning, the University of South Florida baseball team scored the final five runs including three in the ninth to complete yet another late comeback, defeating Stetson 8-6 Tuesday night at Conrad Park.
Junior Kevin Merrell (Odessa, Fla.) led off the game with a single, then stole second. After two quick outs, sophomore Joe Genord (Lake Worth, Fla.) doubled to deep right center, bringing in Merrell to give the Bulls (28-5, 4-2 American) an early edge.
The lead was lost quickly when the Hatters (15-20, 5-1 ASUN) scored three in the bottom half of the first. The lead got up to as much as four and the scoreboard displayed 6-3 in favor of the Hatters after 7.0 innings.
The Bulls got closer in the eighth with two runs. After loading the bases with two outs, sophomore Cameron Montgomery (Windermere, Fla.) pinch hit and delivered with a ground-rule double to right center.
After two-straight singles for USF to start the ninth, junior Duke Stunkel Jr. (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) laid down a bunt that rolled toward the third baseman. The pitcher fielded the bunt and fired to first but the throw went over the first baseman, allowing the tying run to score from third. Sophomore David Villar (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) came through with a two-RBI single in the next at bat to make it 8-6. Stetson went down in order in the bottom half.
· Merrell and Andres Leal (Tampa) each went 3-for-5 with a run scored.
· Genord went 2-for-5 with a RBI, sophomore Chris Chatfield (Riverview, Fla.) went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and three walks.
· Sophomore Andrew Perez (Orlando) pitched the final 2.0 innings and was perfect with three strikeouts.
· Senior Mark Savarese (Palm City, Fla.) pitched a third-straight scoreless inning of at least two strikeouts in the last five days.
· The 15 hits marks the 21st time the Bulls clubbed double-digit hits this season.
· The Bulls and Hatters are now tied in the all-time series, 84-84
· The four-run deficit was the largest for the Bulls all season.
The Bulls return home for a three-game series against Cincinnati that begins Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
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.