Up Next For the Bulls: Game 54: Pittsburgh | May 21| 1 p.m. | USF Baseball Stadium
TAMPA - All season long University of South Florida baseball coach Lelo Prado has preached that it will be the seniors that will determine the Bulls success during the 2011 season.
With the their 2011 postseason hopes on the line it would USF's upperclassman who powered the Bulls to a 7-2 Game 2 victory over Pittsburgh Friday night at the USF Baseball Stadium.
Making his first start since May 9th at UConn, senior Kyle Eastham was superb, going 7.0 innings, allowing just two runs on three hits. He struck out five while walking just one.
"Kyle was outstanding tonight," said Prado. "We needed him to step up and he answered. It is probably the best performance of his career and it came at the right time."
After a two-out single in the first by Pitt catcher Kevan Smith, Eastham retired the next 17 batters he faced. Eastham was effective and efficient, throwing just 75 pitches with 51 of them finding the strike zone.
Eastham was able to work with a lead for most of the night as the Bulls took a 1-0 lead in the third on James Ramsay's RBI triple off the wall in right which Jonathan Koscso from first.
With Eastham cruising on the bump, the Bulls tacked on three in the fourth. Following Daniel Rockhold's leadoff single, Alex Mendez crushed a 2-0 offering from Pitt's Corey Baker off the scoreboard in right for his first round tripper of the season.
USF extended their lead to 4-0 on an RBI single by Koscso, his third hit of the night. Koscso has hit safely in each of his last eight games with five multi-games in the span.
After retiring 17 straight, Eastham walked Smith with one down in the seventh and on the very next pitch he made his lone mistake of the night. First baseman David Chester sent a drive to left for a two-run homer and cut the Bulls lead to 4-2. It was the second time in as many nights that Chester left the yard against USF pitching.
Eastham would escape the inning without any more damage to complete his night.
The Bulls offense responded immediately, taking back one of the runs with a Rockhold sacrifice fly.
Eastham gave way to Junior Carlin in the eighth with a 5-2 lead in hand. Carlin continued the trend of senior performances on the night with two shutout innings, allowing one hit while striking out three en route to his first career save.
Eastham picked up the win to improve to 4-5 on the season.
Carlin did it at the plate as he picked up a clutch, two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth to give himself and the Bulls a little more breathing room. Carlin worked a perfect ninth striking out two to preserve the 7-2 BUlls win.
The Bulls will be faced with another must win game in tomorrow's season finale.
To punch their ticket to Clearwater, USF must win tomorrow with either a Seton Loss or a Cincinnati loss.
"We've got nobody to blame. We've put ourselves in this situation, and we gave up some games early in the year," Prado said. "The only thing we can control is what we do tomorrow."
Celebrating Senior Day the Bulls will honor seven seniors in a pre-game ceremony. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the USF Baseball Stadium.
Game Notes Tonigt's game was played in 1:58... USF is 11-5 against Pitt all-time and 6-2 at Home... Jonathan Koscso has hit safely in eight straight, including multi-hit games in five of his last eight... The home run by Mendez is the second of his career and first of the season... USF's Bullpen has not allowed run in their 10.0 innings of work...