Clearwater, Fla. - The University of South baseball team wrapped up their final game in the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge on Sunday with a loss to Indiana by a score of 9-7.
The Bulls finished the first weekend of the season with a record of 1-2, picking up a win against Purdue and dropping games to Michigan and Indiana.
"We have to get better," said head coach Lelo Prado. "We had them on the ropes and we didn't come through. We have to make those plays. We have to build on it and hopefully next weekend will be a great weekend."
After four scoreless innings of baseball, both Indiana and USF's bats came alive, totaling 13 and 15 hits respectively.
Hoosier freshman lefty Blake Monar was awarded the win and Jake Dunning earned the save. Junior RHP Shawn Sanford was tagged with the loss after striking out eight, but allowing five runs from eight hits in five innings on the hill. Sanford started the game with six strikeouts in the first three innings.
Senior outfielder Mike Consolmagno was 4-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored and an RBI. Freshman catcher Daniel Rockhold added three hits and two runs scored while classmate Sam Mende collected three hits and a run for the Bulls offense.
Sophomore Ryan Lockwood's hitting streak came to an end, stopping the consecutive-game hit streak at 32. Lockwood did reach base safely in the game, though, drawing a walk in the eighth inning.
The game was relatively quiet offensively until the top of the fifth inning when the Hoosier bats exploded for five runs.
Junior Jake Dunning got things started for Indiana when he reached on a fielding error by sophomore Jonathan Koscso at third. Junior outfielder Evan Crawford then pinch-hit for Brian Lambert and doubled, scoring Dunning from second for the first run of the game. Senior Chris Hervey then singled bringing around Crawford from second. Indiana’s junior slugger Josh Phegley doubled scoring Hervey to give the Hoosiers a 3-0 lead. That brought up freshman Alex Dickerson who hit a two-run shot to deep left-center field bringing home Phegley. Junior Shawn Sanford was able to strike out Tyler Rogers and Cody Webber to end the five-run fifth inning.
The Bulls responded in the bottom of the fifth with four runs of their own. Freshman shortstop Sam Mende led things off with a single to center field. Freshman Daniel Rockhold came up next and picked up an infield hit to shortstop. Mende and Rockhold advanced on a throwing error by Dunning. Junior transfer Peter Brotons singled in Mende from third and advanced Rockhold to third. Senior Mike Consolmagno came up to bat and ripped a single through the right side of the infield to score Rockhold, making the game 5-2. Koscso was plunked with a pitch from Indiana starting pitcher Blake Monar to load the bases. Senior outfielder Chris Rey then reached on a throwing error by shortstop Dunning, scoring Brotons and narrowing the Hoosier lead to two. Stephen Hunt was hit by a pitch by Monar, which brought home Consolmagno to make the score 5-4. Before the Bulls were able to tie the score, first baseman Todd Brazeal grounded into a 5-2-3 double play to end a wild fifth inning.
In the top of the sixth inning, USF starting pitcher Shawn Sanford was replaced by sophomore Zach Pietryzk after going five innings, allowing eight hits and five runs, four of them earned, and striking out eight Hoosiers. The Indiana bats stayed hot in the sixth when leadoff hitter T.C. Knipp doubled. Dunning then doubled to the gap scoring Knipp. Dunning scored on a wild pitch by relief pitcher Pietryzk. After a walk was issued to Hervey, the Hoosiers’ 3-4-5 hitters all singled to bring home two more runs expanding the Indiana lead to 9-4.
The Bulls could not answer in the bottom of the 6th, with three USF players - Mende, Rockhold and Brotons - all being retired 1-2-3.
The USF defense was able to slow down the Indiana offense in the top of the seventh retiring Knipp, Dunning and Crawford in order. In the bottom of the inning USF got things started with a single from Consolmagno and a double from Kosco. After sophomore Ryan Lockwood popped out in foul territory to Phegley, Rey ripped a ground rule double to left-center field scoring both Consolmagno and Koscso. Following a strikeout from Hunt, the Bulls got a two-out hit from Brazeal, but Carr struck out Mende to end the attack from the Bulls.
Indiana went down 1-2-3 again in the top of the eighth, giving USF a chance for a comeback in the bottom half of the inning.
The Bulls got things going when Rockhold reached on a bunt single. A single by Consolmagno, his fourth of the game, and a walk by Lockwood allowed Koscso to score on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Rey narrowing Indiana’s lead to 9-7.
Junior walk-on pitcher Joe Cole shut down the Hoosiers in the top of the ninth. Hunt led the bottom half of the inning by being hit by a pitch, the third time in the game. Brazeal reached on a fielder's choice then was replaced by pinch runner Junior Carlin. Mende singled through the left side, moving Carlin to second, but a pair of ground outs from Manz and senior pinch hitter Brandon Smith ended the game.
"Joe did a good job in the last three innings. He gave us an opportunity. We had our chances. We had the right guys up to the plate. We just didn't get it done," said Prado.
USF continues the 2009 season on Tuesday at Red McEwen Field. The Bulls will host the Netherlands National Team at 6 p.m. on the USF campus.