First Place USF Bulldozes West Virginia, 11-2
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F WVU USF vs. WVU
Game One: W, 8-3
Game Two: W, 11-2
Game Three: Sunday at 1 p.m.
USF at UCF| April 28 | Orlando, Fla.
USF vs. WVU
TAMPA – The first place University of South Florida defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 11-2 on Saturday night in front of the biggest crowd of the season, to take a two game lead in the BIG EAST.
The win, coupled with a Louisville loss to Notre Dame, gave the Bulls a two-game advantage over the second place Cardinals, and a three game lead over visiting West Virginia.
1472 fans packed into Red McEwen Field for Game Two of the series, the most for a USF baseball game this season, breaking the 1294 that attended the game against Oklahoma on March 14.
“That is what we want this place to be like,” said head coach Lelo Prado. "That is how I envision a BIG EAST stadium, and I think it is a great atmosphere. The more we win, the more people that will come out. Hopefully they come out tomorrow and help us get the sweep."
The crowd and home field advantage have helped improve USF to 8-0 at home in BIG EAST play, 26-15 overall and 14-3 in conference.
“We have to (keep winning), because the two teams behind us keep winning,” said Prado. "We have two tough road weekends the last two weekends, so we have to take advantage of the home games this weekend and next week."
The Bulls recorded 18 hits and 11 runs against West Virginia in the second game of the series, making it the 27th time this season that they have recorded double-digit hits, and the 14th time they scored double-digit runs in a game.
The 18 hits is tied for the most the Bulls have recorded in a game, matching the 18 which happened March 11 against UCF and again on March 20 against Rutgers.
The USF hitting assault was led by Todd Brazeal, Sam Mende and Junior Carlin who each collected three hits. Four other Bulls accounted for a pair of hits on the night including Ryan Lockwood, who extended his consecutive games reaching base safely streak to 83 games. He also extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Lockwood, along with Brazeal and Brotons, each drove in a pair of runs for the Bulls.
USF starting pitcher, Derrick Stultz (5-1), pitched eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out five. The quality start comes one night after the complete game win from Randy Fontanez, forcing the Bulls to only use one reliever heading into the series finale.
The Bulls got to WVU starter Billy Gross for nine earned runs on 15 hits in 4.2 innings, while not striking out once.
The Mountaineers got things started in the top of the first with consecutive singles by Justin Parks and Austin Markel. Parks came around to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jedd Gyorko to give the Mountaineers the 1-0 lead.
USF responded in the bottom half of the inning. The Bulls got a one-out single from Jonathan Koscso followed by a double off the left-centerfield wall by Stephen Hunt. Koscso scored to tie the game on a ground ball to first by Brazeal.
In the bottom of the second, the Bulls' bats came alive. The lineup accounted for five consecutive singles after Trey Manz lined out to begin the inning. Mende, Carlin, Brotons, Lockwood and Koscso each singled to put the Bulls up 4-1. Hunt grounded out to score Lockwood, and Brazeal then singled to score Koscso and give USF the 5-1 advantage through two.
Hunt singled again in the fourth, and after a double by Brazeal, he scored on a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Smith.
Mende collected his third single of the game in the fifth inning, and advanced to third after a wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt. Brotons came up and singled up the middle to plate Mende from third to bring up Lockwood. Lockwood, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games earlier in the game, ripped a single down the first base line, scoring Brotons all the way from first.
After retiring 12 consecutive Mountaineers from the second inning until the sixth, Stultz surrendered a double to Gyorko who eventually scored on a double by Dan DiBartolomeo.
The Bulls answered right back in the bottom of the sixth with two more runs of their own. Brazeal singled to begin things for USF, and he scored after a double by Manz. With two outs in the inning, Carlin singled to score Manz and put the Bulls up 11-2.
Andrew Salguiero came in to relieve Stultz in the ninth, and closed out the game for the Bulls.
USF will go for its fourth sweep of a conference opponent and their third at home, tomorrow at 1 p.m. against West Virginia.
The 1472 in attendance is the most for a USF baseball game this season, breaking the 1294 that attended the game against Oklahoma on March 14.
The Bulls recorded 18 hits and 11 runs against West Virginia in the second game of the series making it the 27th time this season that they have recorded double-digit hits, and the 14th time they scored double digit runs in a game.
Ryan Lockwood extended his consecutive games reaching base safely streak to 83 games. He also extended his hitting streak to 10 games.