Up Next For the Bulls: Game 52: Pittsburgh | May 19 | 7 p.m. | USF Baseball Stadium
TAMPA - Building an early lead mixed with solid performances on the mound, the University of South Florida baseball team was able to build some momentum going into their final BIG EAST weekend with a 4-1 victory over North Florida Tuesday night at the USF Baseball Stadium.
Due to the Thursday start to their important series against Pittsburgh and healthy arms at a premium, the Bulls needed someone to step up to hault their season-long seven game losing skid.
And junior starter Matt Reed answered the call, as he pitched 5.0 solid innings yielding, one run on four hits and striking out four Ospreys en route to his career-high fifth win of the season.
The Bulls offense would get going in the first as Jonathan Koscso, who started the inning off with a double to gap in right, came around to score on Junior Carlin's RBI single. But the Bulls' weren't done.
Following a James Ramsay groundout, junior Todd Brazeal delivered an RBI single through the left side scoring Carlin easily, making it 2-0.
Despite allowing the UNF leadoff batter to reach six times to start an, the 2-0 lead was all Reed and the USF pitching staff would need as the Reed's only hiccup came in the third on an RBI double by UNF's Alex Hernandez to cut the lead to 2-1.
Despite outting the Bulls, 8-7 on the night, that would be all for the Ospreys' as USF used three hurlers to work 4.0 scoreless innings of relief with last being closer Kevin Quackenbush, who struck out two in the ninth to pick up his 12th save in 13 chances this season.
With the scoreless frame, Quackenbush lowered his ERA to 0.89 on the season.
The most encouraging effort came from freshman lefty Nick Gonzalez. Gonzalez came on to relieve Reed in the sixth and pitch 2.0 scoreless frames, striking out four and more impressively, not walk a batter as 28 of his 37 pitches found the strike zone.
In the sixth, the Bulls distanced themselves a bit as Daniel Rockhold's ground out to third scored Ramsay. Rockhold's fifth RBI of the season was immediately followed by a single through the right side to score Brazeal from second.
The Bulls chased North Florida starter Clayton Schulz two batters into the sixth. Schulz took the loss after yielding four runs on six hits to fall to 1-2 on the season.
Ramsay continues to come on strong down the stretch as he collected two of the Bulls seven hits on the night. He has hit in three straight safely and his five for his last seven at the plate.
The Bulls, who complete their non-conference slate with an 12-15 record, can turn their focus to their post-season deciding series against Pittsburgh.
It will be a short turn around as USF will wrap up the 2011 regular season with a three-game set against Pittsburgh at the USF Baseball Stadium beginning on Thursday, May 19. The Bulls enter the final BIG EAST weekend at 11-13 in conference play, tied with Seton Hall for the final spot in the BIG EAST Championship.
The Bulls will have to match Seton Hall win for win for the final spot in Clearwater since they hold the tie-breaker thanks to winning two of three against the Pirates.
Game Notes The Game was played in 2:02... The Bulls are 5-4 all-time against the Osprey and 5-1 in Tampa... The start for Matt Reed was his ninth of the season, a career-high for Reed... Jimmy Moran worked a scoreless eighth inning... Quackenbush gave up a two-out, double in the ninth marking just the 12th hit allowed this season and the third extra base hit... It was the 22nd save of his career... With 12 saves on the season, he moves into eighth-place on the Bulls single season save list... Koscso is now just one hit (268) shy of USF assistant coach Chris Heintz for eighth place on the Bulls all-time hit list... Jimmy Falla swiped his first stolen base of the season and the second of his career in the sixth...