Bulls Still in First Despite 7-6 Loss at Notre Dame
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USF at Notre Dame | May 9 | 12:05 p.m. | Notre Dame, Ind.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After leading the entire game, the University of South Florida baseball team gave up three runs in the last two innings to lose, 7-6, to Notre Dame Saturday afternoon.
USF (30-19, 17-6) scored in each of the first five innings, but were held scoreless after a four-run fifth by the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame added a solo home run in the eighth and two in the ninth to take home their 29th win of the season.
With USF up 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Notre Dame loaded the bases with one out on USF starter Derrick Stultz, so junior Joe Cole came in for relief. Cole allowed a base hit to center to his first batter, which tied the game. The Bulls intentionally walked the next batter to reload the bases, but a four-pitch walk plated the winning run for Notre Dame.
USF still leads the BIG EAST Conference with its 17-6 league record while Notre Dame improves to 13-10 in the league.
Sophomore starter Derrick Stultz pitched 8.1 innings, giving up seven runs from six hits in his third loss of the season. Stultz struck out five and had three 1-2-3 innings. Cole allowed one hit and walked two.
Sam Elam earned the win for Notre Dame, his first of the year, holding USF scoreless while allowing two hits, walking four and striking out four in 4.2 innings.
Junior Carlin reached base in all five plate appearances, going 3-for-4 with a fielder’s choice and a walk.
Four other batters had two-hit games, including Jonathan Koscso, Todd Brazeal, Chris Rey and Trey Manz. Koscso and Rey each had a double, their 12th and 11th of the year, respectively.
In the first and second innings, USF’s first two batters each recorded hits.
In the first, sophomore Ryan Lockwood hit a single up the middle to start the game, then classmate Jonathan Koscso followed with a double down the left line in the first. Lockwood scored on a ground out by sophomore Stephen Hunt and Koscso crossed the plate on an RBI single from freshman Todd Brazeal.
An inning later, senior Trey Manz and freshman Sam Mende started the inning with back-to-back hits. A sac bunt from junior Peter Brotons moved the runners into scoring position, then Lockwood grounded out to shortstop to plate Manz and give USF the 2-0 lead.
Three-straight two-out hits added a run in the third and three errors by the ND defense allowed a USF run to score in the fourth.
Senior Chris Rey connected on a double to center field in the fifth, driving in sophomore Junior Carlin, who had reached on a one-out single in the previous at bat.
After a pair of scoreless innings, Notre Dame tagged a leadoff home run to draw the game within one in the eighth.
With the one-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, USF gave up two runs from one hit and three walks.
USF and Notre Dame face off for Game Three on Sunday at 12:05 p.m., which is moved up one hour due to USF travel plans.
After recording 13 hits on May 9 at Notre Dame, USF has 33 double-digit hit games this season. The season high is 18 hits, which the Bulls have accomplished three times this year, the last in the 11-2 victory over West Virginia on April 25.
Junior Carlin collected his fourth three-hit game against the Fighting Irish on May 9. Carlin has five 2-hit games, two 4-hit outings and is the only player on the team with a 5-hit night.
The two losses to Notre Dame are only the second time this season the Bulls have lost a BIG EAST series. The other was against Connecticut March 27-29 in Storrs, when the Huskies took the first two before USF came up with the Sunday victory. USF has swept four BIG EAST weekends this season, including Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Georgetown and West Virginia.