JACKSONVILLE, APRIL 19, 2017 – The University of South Florida baseball scored runs in the fourth and fifth to take a 4-2 lead and the bullpen tossed a scoreless final 4.2 innings to earn a win over North Florida Wednesday night.
The Bulls (30-7, 5-4 American) scored twice in the first, as senior Luke Borders (Winter Haven, Fla.) brought in the game’s first run on a triple to center. He was brought home to make it 2-0 early.
But the Ospreys (24-15, 7-2 ASUN) tied things in the third. USF responded with runs in the fourth and fifth to take a 4-2 edge. After two-straight walks to begin the bottom of the fifth, senior righty Ryan Valdes (Tampa) recorded three-straight outs including two-straight strikeouts.
The hosts led off both the seventh and eighth with doubles, but the USF bullpen punched out three-consecutive batters in each inning. UNF put two men on in the eighth, but sophomore Andrew Perez (Orlando) was able to close the door for his fifth save of the season.
· Junior Kevin Merrell (Odessa, Fla.) went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored.
· Borders went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBI. He hit his third triple of the season.
· Sophomore Joe Genord (Lake Worth, Fla.) also went 2-for-4 with a run and one RBI.
· Valdes tossed 1.2, walking one a striking out four.
· Senior Mark Savarese (Palm City, Fla.) tossed the seventh, striking out two.
· Junior Joe Cavallaro (Venice, Fla.) hurled the eighth and struck out a pair, while Perez did not allow a hit, walked two and struck out one.
· The pen combined for 4.2 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts.
· The Bulls become the 11th team in the nation to reach 30 wins this year.
· The Bulls improve to 4-3 on the road and 7-1 in midweek games.
· USF is now 11-6 in games decided by two runs or less this season.
· Of the eight hits tonight, seven came from the 1-4 hitters.
Coach Kingston on the win.
The Bulls travel to Memphis for three games with their conference foes beginning Friday at 7:30 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.