Bulls Shutout Florida A&M in Series Opener, 5-0
TAMPA -Senior RHP Randy Fontanez did a little bit of everything as the Oviedo native guided the University of South Florida baseball team (3-5) to a 5-0 victory over visiting Florida A&M at the USF Baseball Stadium.
Fontanez (1-1) led the Bulls to their second straight win, while picking up his first win of the season. He threw 8.0 scoreless innings, striking out a season-high eight batters.
He scattered five hits, all singles. Fontanez retired the side in order three times on the night, including a seven pitch second inning and four-pitch inning in the sixth.
Fontanez has now thrown 16.1 consecutive scorless innings and has lowered his ERA to 2.75.
Fontanez would do it all on the evening. His battery mate Daniel Rockhold left the game in the first inning after being hit by a pitch in the hand, forcing designated hitter Andrew Longley to go behind the plate.
After some lobbying by Fontanez to Bulls skipper Lelo Prado, Fontanez replaced Rockhold as the Bulls clean-up hitter and stepped into the batter's box for the first time in his collegiate career.
Fontanez would make the most of it as he sent a shot to second base that FAMU's Oscar Santalo couldn't handle. It would be ruled a hit and he later swiped second as part of a double steal and finished 1-for-2 at the plate.
For the third straight game, USF struck first as the Bulls pushed across single runs in the first two innings. In the first, junior Sam Mende singled down the left field line to score Jonathan Koscso from second base.
Koscso singled in his first at-bat to extend his hitting streak to five. He has hit safely in 8-of-9 games so far in 2011.
In the second, USF got an RBI groundout from Luis Llerena to extend the Bulls lead to 2-0.
The Bulls had chances to break open the game but left six runners on in the first three innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the third.
The Bulls added a run in the fifth. A walk by Mende and an infield single by Fontanez and double steal put runners on second and third with one out for freshman James Ramsay. Ramsay singled to right to score Mende from second and widen the Bulls advantage.
Throughout the game, USF had Florida A&M pitching on the ropes but couldn't deliver a knockout blow as USF left 12 runners on base on the evening.
Florida A&M starter Tim Jones (0-2) suffered the loss, yielding three runs through 5.0 innings, scattering five hits, walking five and striking out two. Jones threw 112 pitches while Fontanez tossed just 84 over eight innings of work.
The Bulls would add to their lead in the eighth. An RBI triple by senior Junior Carlin and a sacrifice fly by Mende gave the Bulls a 5-0 lead.
Offensively, USF out hit the Rattlers, 8-6, and took advantage of seven free passes allowed by FAMU pitching. Koscso led the Bulls with three hits on the night, scoring two runs.
Junior RHP Jimmy Moran bounced back from a shaky outing against Miami, preserving the shutout by working a scoreless ninth, striking out the final two batters of the game.
Due to forecasted inclement weather expected to hit the Bay Area on Sunday, USF has decided to move Sunday's game against Florida A&M up to Saturday and play a doubleheader with the first game scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at the USF Baseball Stadium.
Attendance was 1, 445... It marks the fourth straight game the Bulls have drawn over a 1,000 people... Fontanez's at-bat was the first of his career... The three-hit game was the 13th of Koscso's career and the 46th multi-hit game of his career... With eight strikeouts, Fontanez moves into sole possession of ninth place on the Bulls all-time strikeout list... He now has 234 career punch outs... The record is held by Mark Roberts with 332 strikeouts... USF came into the game with one stolen base and swiped six bases on the night.