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USF vs. WVU
Game One: W, 8-3
Game Two: W, 11-2
Game Three: W, 9-6

Up Next:
USF at UCF| April 28 | Orlando, Fla.


TAMPA –The University of South Florida baseball team completed the three-game sweep of West Virginia on Sunday by beating the Mountaineers 9-6 to take a three-game lead in the BIG EAST standings.

The win improved USF to 15-3 in the BIG EAST, the most BIG EAST wins in a season in USF history. The Bulls went 13-14 in 2007 and 14-13 in 2008. The Bulls remained a perfect 9-0 at Red McEwen Field, and took a three game lead over Louisville and a four game lead of West Virginia in the BIG EAST standings.

The sweep is the first time that the Mountaineers have been swept in 2009.

“Sweeps in this conference are so tough. We have quite a few of them, which is why we are on top of the BIG EAST,” said head coach Lelo Prado.

USF fans packed the stadium during the three-game series to help give the Bulls the home field advantage. 865 fans attended Sunday’s finale after 1472 came Saturday and 1135 took in Friday’s action for a total of 3472 for the series, the most in recent history.

The Bulls combined for 15 hits in the three-game finale, and 44 total hits over the three-game stretch. The sweep of West Virginia improves USF to 9-0 at home in BIG EAST play, and is the third home conference sweep of the season and the fourth league sweep overall.

The Bulls got a 4-5 performance from Chris Rey, who improved his batting average to .362 in BIG EAST play. Freshman Sam Mende and Junior Carlin each added three hits, the second game in a row in which they both collected three hits.

Ryan Lockwood earned three walks to improve his streak of consecutive games in which he has reached base safely to 84 games.

USF got a lot of production with two outs, which helped them to the three-game sweep.

“That has been our key all season. The biggest thing that I was proud of was that our guys were focused all weekend. When they come out like that, we are a good team,” said Prado.

USF starter Shawn Sanford improved to 4-2 on the year and gave the Bulls six innings of four run ball while allowing seven hits and striking out three Mountaineers.

Kevin Quackenbush pitched the final three innings and allowed just one run on one hit to earn his sixth save of the season.

“Our pitching was great. When you shut out a team like that, you have to tip your hat to the guys that started. The guys that came in did a great job, but the starters were outstanding,” said Prado.

The Bulls got to the WVU bullpen early again in game three as they knocked the Mountaineer starter, Chase Pickering, out of his first BIG EAST start after just 2.2 innings and three runs on four hits.

The Bulls got things started in the bottom of the second with a one-out single by Chris Rey. Junior Carlin was then hit by a pitch, and a Sam Mende single scored Rey to give USF the early 1-0 advantage.

West Virginia answered immediately in the top of the third. After a leadoff single by Joe Agreste, Colin Durborow reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a single to center off of the bat of leadoff hitter Justin Parks, to tie the game at 1-1.

In the bottom of the third, the Bulls got a pair of walks from Jonathan Koscso and Todd Brazeal, and back-to-back singles by Rey and Carlin gave the Bulls the 3-1 lead after three.

The Mountaineers responded with a Vince Belnome walk and a two-out single Tobias Streich. Sanford got a fly ball from Grant Buckner, but an error by Stephen Hunt allowed Belnome to score, cutting the lead to 3-2.

The Bulls pulled ahead in the fifth with a three-run inning. USF got singles from Koscso, Brazeal and Rey to score Koscso. With two outs, the Bulls got a two RBI single from Mende to take the 6-2 lead.

West Virginia got a walk and a single from Belnome and DiBartolomeo to begin the 6th, followed by doubles by Buckner and Durborow, to give the Mountaineers a three-run inning, and cut the lead to 6-5.

A leadoff triple by Carlin got it started for the Bulls in the seventh, and he scored on a single off the bat of Mende. Mende then moved to third after a sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Brandon Smith, and a ground ball out from Brotons. The freshman then scored on a wild pitch. After Lockwood drew a walk, Koscso doubled down the left field line and gave the Bulls a 9-5 lead.

West Virginia added a single after a solo home run by Buckner in the eighth.

USF next plays a home-and-home with UCF, traveling to Orlando on Tuesday and hosting the Knights at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Red McEwen Field.

Game Notes

The win improved USF to 15-3 in the BIG EAST, the most BIG EAST wins in USF history. The Bulls went 13-14 in 2007 and 14-13 in 2008.

The Bulls remained a perfect 9-0 at Red McEwen Field in league play.

The sweep is the first time that the Mountaineers have been swept in 2009.

USF fans packed the stadium during the three-game series to help give USF the home field advantage. 865 fans attended Sunday’s finale after 1472 came Saturday and 1135 took in Friday’s action for a total of 3472 for the series, the most in recent history.

The Bulls combined for 15 hits in the three-game finale, and 44 total hits over the three-game stretch. The sweep of West Virginia improves USF to 9-0 at home in BIG EAST play, and is the third home conference sweep of the season and the fourth overall.

Ryan Lockwood earned three walks to improve his streak of consecutive games in which he has reached base safely to 84 games.