TAMPA, APRIL 15, 2017 – The University of South Florida baseball team clubbed four solo homeruns including back-to-back blasts in the eighth to take a 4-2 lead which was the final in Saturday’s series finale against Cincinnati.
The Bulls (29-7, 5-4 American) got on the board in the first with the game’s first homer, a Luke Borders (Winter Haven, Fla.) shot to right. The Bearcats (18-17, 4-5 American) led off the second with a double, leading to the game’s tying run two batters later.
Ryan Noda scored Cincinnati’s first run and Jace Mercer brought him home. The duo gave the visitors a lead in the fourth, as Noda found himself on second with two outs then Mercer singled to center to make it 2-1.
The deep ball came in handy again in the seventh when junior Kevin Merrell (Odessa, Fla.) sent one to right with two outs and two strikes in the count. In the bottom of the eighth, Borders led off with another homer to right, giving the Bulls their first lead. Sophomore Joe Genord (Lake Worth, Fla.) immediately followed with a towering shot over the fence in left to make it 4-2.
· Borders and Genord each went 2-for-4, combining for three of the four homers.
· Merrell went 1-for-3 with a walk and his fifth homerun of the year.
· The three USF pitchers did not allow a walk and combined for nine strikeouts.
· Redhsirt-junior Peter Strzelecki (Lake Worth, Fla.) started and pitched the first 4.1, giving up two runs on five hits with four strikeouts.
· Senior Mark Savarese (Palm City, Fla.) tossed 2.2 frames, surrendered one hit and struck out three.
· Junior Joe Cavallaro (Venice, Fla.) tossed the final 2.0 innings and was perfect, as he struck out two.
· The Bulls notched a season-high with the four homeruns. They have hit multiple homers in six games this year.
· It was just the second time this season that the Bulls did not walk the opposition.
· USF is now 10-6 in games decided by two runs or less this season.
· USF leads the all-time series against Cincy 42-20 and end a four-game losing streak to the Bearcats.
Coach Kingston and Luke Borders post game.
The Bulls head on the road for four-straight games, beginning with North Florida Wednesday at 6:00 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.