Up Next For the Bulls: Game 44: UCF | May 3 | 7:00 p.m. | Tampa, Fla.
TAMPA -Despite struggling to produce any timely hit for most of the afternoon, the University of South Florida baseball team (22-21, 11-7)was able to take down St. John's to complete the series sweep Sunday, thanks to great pitching and a game-winning single by left fielder Junior Carlin in the eleventh inning.
Senior Kyle Eastham put together a solid outing on the mound, allowing only one run which came in the second inning.
He surrendered just four hits through six and stuck out three, but would not factor in the decision.
A two-hit third inning that started with a leadoff single by sophomore outfielder Chad Taylor was plagued by sloppy base-running, bringing it to an abrupt halt. Two runners were then left stranded in the sixth after senior third baseman Jonathan Koscso was fortunate enough to make it to first on a St. John's error to start the inning.
Even with runners on second and third with no outs, USF still could not get on the board. The Bulls would not break through until the ninth inning when Peter Brotons hit a sac fly to center field, scoring James Ramsay, who had singled to lead off the inning before getting pushed to third by back-to-back walks of Taylor and catcher Andrew Longley.
Finally, in the bottom of the eleventh, with two outs, Carlin delivered the most important hit of the game, scoring Chad Taylor from second. Taylor was three-for-three on the day.
If Carlin had not knocked him in hit and the inning ended with his at-bat, the game would have actually been ruled a tie, due to travel time limits for St. John's. USF just barely squeezed out a win.
"We weren't frustrated; we were just trying to stay in the game the whole time," said Carlin. "Eventually, we just pushed and stuck with it and we came through in the long run. It wasn't much but we got it done."
The pitching staff for USF came through big time to help USF get its first series sweep over a Big East opponent this season, and the defending conference champs at that. They held St. John's to just three runs over the three-game series.
"If you're going to win championships, you gotta sweep," said Coach Lelo Prado following the win. "We stuck in there and we pitched outstanding. That might be the best weekend since I've been here. I'm proud of every one of those guys. They keep working, they keep battling and good things are happening."
The bullpen was nearly perfect all weekend long, pitching nine shutout innings and registering nine total strikeouts.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday night, USF will look to take the season series sweep at home against its inner-state rival UCF. After completing their most impressive weekend performance of the season against a tough opponent like St. John's, Prado's team is very confident moving on, despite having some struggles at the plate.
"Winning three games against those guys, I have nothing to complain about," he said.
The Bulls will look to carry the weekend sweep into the mid-week as they look for the season sweep of Central Florida on Tuesday night at the USF Baseball Stadium. The game will air live on the Bright House Sports Network. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
With the win, USF moves into a tie for third place with Louisville in the BIG EAST standings with a three-game set at conference leading UConn Saturday, May 7.
Game Notes The series sweep is the first in BIG EAST play of the season... It marks the first series sweep and first series win against St. John's in five prior series... USF is now 8-10 against the Red Storm... The ninth inning come-from behind win is the first of the season for the Bulls... Bulls head coach Lelo Prado is 62-44 vs. BIG EAST competition... Moving to 22-21, USF is above .500 for the first time since ending the 2009 season at 32-26... 6.0 innings pitched for Kyle Eastham is the longest since his 7.0 innings at Villanova on April 2... USF's Bullpen combined to work 11.0 scoreless innings over the weekend sweep allowing five hits... Koscso was hit for the 73rd time in his career and the 18th time this season... 18 HBP tied him for fourth on the USF single-season list... The walk-off hit for Carlin is the second of his USF career, his first was a pinch-hit, walk-off single vs. Notre Damon 5/16/08... Carlin has hit safely in all 17 BIG EAST games in which he has played and his last 18 straight dating back to 2010... Three hits for Chad Taylor, who reached base five times, is a season-high... It is the third three hit game of his career... St. John's Rowan Wick has all three of the Red Storm's Runs Driven in on the weekend...