Bulls Drowned By Huskies In Tournament

May 22, 2009

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2009 BIG EAST Baseball Championship Schedule:

Tuesday, May 19 - Four games
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com, live audio on Sirius XM Radio)
Game 1 – No. 5 Notre Dame 14, No. 4 St. John’s 5
Game 2 – No. 1 Louisville 12, No. 8 Cinicnnati 2 (7)
Game 3 – No. 6 Connecticut 6, No. 3 West Virginia 1

Wednesday, May 20 - Two games
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com, live audio on Sirius XM Radio)
Game 4 – No. 2 USF 12, No. 7 Pittsburgh 2 (8)
Game 5 – No. 4 St. John’s 12, No. 8 Cinicnnati 2

Thursday, May 21 - Four games
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com, live audio on Sirius XM Radio)
Game 6 – No. 1 Louisville 12, No. 5 Notre Dame 2 
Game 7 – No. 3 West Virginia 20, No. 7 Pittsburgh 8
Friday, May 22 - Four games
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com, live audio on Sirius XM Radio)
Game 8 – No. 6 Connecticut 4, No. 2 USF 2
Game 9 - No. 4 St. John's vs. No. 5 Notre Dame 1 p.m.
Game 10 - No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 2 USF, 4 p.m.
Game 11 - No. 1 Louisville vs. Game 9 winner 7 p.m.
Game 12 - No. 6 Connecticut vs. Game 10 winner TBA
Game 13 - Game 11 winner vs. Game 11 loser* TBA
Game 14 - Game 12 winner vs. Game 12 loser* TBA
Game 15 - Semifinal winners (Live: ESPNU)

Saturday, May 23 - TBA
(live television on ESPNU, live audio on Sirius XM Radio)

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The University of South Florida left the bases loaded in the ninth inning to lose to the University of Connecticut in the BIG EAST Tournament on Friday by a score of 4-2.

The Bulls were trailing UConn 4-1 with two outs and a full count to Chris Rey in the ninth as the skies opened and the rain began to fall. The umpires decided to try and finish the final pitch, but Rey extended the game by earning the walk.

A single by Trey Manz and a walk from Sam Mende loaded the bases for Ryan Lockwood. Lockwood came through with a single to score Rey and cut the Husky lead to 4-2.

Peter Brotons then came up to the plate with a chance to tie the game, but he ripped a ground ball right at the UConn first baseman to end the threat and the game.

The No. 2 seed Bulls drop to 33-24 while No. 6 UConn improves to 35-23. The Huskies have upset the No. 2 Bulls and the No. 3 West Virginia Moutaineers to begin the tournament 2-0.

The Bulls will now head to the losers’ bracket to take on the Mountaineers Friday afternoon in an elimination game. The game is currently scheduled for 4 p.m.

USF is now 5-7 in BIG EAST Championship action in three years after winning five of nine games in the tournament the last two seasons. In 2007, USF won a pair of games over Pittsburgh (2-1) and St. John’s (2-0) to start the week, then lost two to UConn, 3-0 and 2-0. Last year, USF beat Notre Dame (9-3), lost to Cincinnati (11-1), beat West Virginia (12-5), then lost again to Cincinnati (13-2).

Junior starter Shawn Sanford was tagged with his fourth loss of the season after giving up four runs on five hits in 7.2 innings. He struck out six, but walked four and threw three wild pitches.

“You cannot blame Shawn Sanford, he did a great job," said Coach Lelo Prado. "He pitched his tail off. It is really tough. You have to make sure every pitch is perfect when you are not putting any offense together.”

Junior Joe Cole wrapped up the game for the Bulls, striking out his only batter in the eighth inning.

The freshman, Mende, led the offense for the Bulls against UConn as he went 2-3 with a double and a walk. Mende is now 4-7 with a home run and a double in his first BIG EAST Tournament.

Lockwood also collected a pair of the Bulls’ five hits on the day and drove in USF’s only two runs including one in the ninth.

“If you don’t hit then you don’t win a tournament," said Prado. "We didn’t hit today. If we want to win the tournament we have to swing the bats. We didn’t do a very good job for eight innings.”

The Bulls are now 1-3 against UConn on the season after losing two of three against the Huskies March 27-29.

UConn broke the monotony of zeros on the scoreboard in the fourth inning when BIG EAST Rookie of the Year George Springer drew a leadoff walk, stole second base, moved to third on an error and scored on a sac fly.

USF countered in the fifth when freshman Sam Mende doubled down the left line and scored on a base hit by Lockwood.

The Huskies regained the lead when Mike Nemeth sent a home run over the right field wall. They added two more in the eighth as the Huskies drew a walk, then moved around the bases on three wild pitches. A double plated a pair of runs, giving UConn the 4-1 lead heading into the top of the ninth.

With two outs and pelting rain, USF loaded the bases in the top of the ninth by drawing a pair of walks and connecting on a base hit. Lockwood stepped to the plate and put a base hit into left field to plate one run.   Brotons grounded out to first to end the game, and send the Bulls to face elimination.

The Bulls play next at 4 p.m. against West Virginia. The Bulls beat the Mountaineers 8-3, 11-2 and 9-6 in Tampa April 24-26.

Stay tuned to GoUSFBulls.com for updates from the BIG EAST Tournament at Brighthouse Networks Field in Clearwater, Fla.



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