Bulls Take Series Over Hoyas with 4-2 Win
TAMPA - The first place University of South Florida baseball team (15-16, 7-1) won its third straight BIG EAST series with a 4-2 victory over Georgetown (16-14, 2-6) thanks to 11 strikeouts from junior Andrew Barbosa on Saturday evening at Red McEwen Field.
The reigning National and BIG EAST Pitcher of the Week, Barbosa (4-1) struck out the side in the first and second inning and finished the night with 11 punch-outs over the course of 6.2 innings of work.
The Riverview HS product allowed two earned runs and scattered just four hits. The 6'8 lefty has won four straight starts and has struck out 27 batters in his last two outings.
Offensively, the Bulls continued their recent BIG EAST trend of getting ahead early.
USF struck in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, USF loaded the bases after Jonathan Koscso singled, Stephen Hunt walked and Sam Mende was hit by a pitch. With two outs, Daniel Rockhold fisted a 1-0 offering from Hoyas' starter Will Harris into shallow right center field to drive in Koscso and Hunt and give the Bulls an early 2-0 lead.
It didn't take long for Georgetown to answer as Barbosa fell victim to the long ball in the second inning. Hoyas clean-up hitter David Capeless cut the Bulls' lead in half with a solo home run to right field to lead off third.
Following the homer, Barbosa struck out the side and went on to retire 17 of the next 22 batters he faced over course of the next five plus innings of work. Opposing hitters are hitting just .221 off of Barbosa this season.
USF went back to work at plate in the fifth and gave Barbosa a little more room to work.
After leading of the fifth by being hit by a pitch, Andrew Longley scored on a single to left by Koscso. Koscso came around to score on an RBI single by Hunt that increased the advantage to 4-1. The run batted in was Hunt's team-leading 26th of the season.
Georgetown would not go away.
With two outs in the seventh, the Hoyas used back-to-back singles by Tommy Lee and Rand Ravnass to cut the lead to 4-2. Ravnass was the final batter Barbosa faced on the night. Barbosa gave way to reliever Joe Cole, who did his job by retiring Will Cupelo with a little defensive help from Sam Mende, who ranged deep in the hole at short.
Cole, making his 12th appearance of the season, was superb in relief for the Bulls. Cole worked 2.0 plus innings of scoreless relief allowing just one hit and striking out two.
With two outs and a runner on second in the top of the ninth, Trey Dahl entered the game and struck out Ravnaas to end the game and collect his first career save.
On the night, Koscso collected three of the Bulls' six hits raising his average to .320 on season. He was the only Bulls to collect multiple hits.
The Bulls will look for the series sweep of the Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Red McEwen Field. Right hander Matt Quevedo will likely get his second straight Sunday start after Teddy Kaufman was a late scratch from the Bulls 25-man roster.
USF has now won 19 of their last 20 BIG EAST games at Red McEwen Field including their seven straight ... USF is now a 5-0 at home in conference play...USF has now won their last nine conference series at Red McEwen... USF is now 13-5 when they... Reliever Trey Dahl has not allowed at hit in five appearances out of the bullpen... With his 1-for-2 effort on the night, Stephen Hunt extended his hit streak to eight games... SS Sam Mende is expected to have jaw unwired on Monday morning... USF pitching combined to strike out 14 batters... USF pitching has combined to strikeout 10+ batters in 14 games this season... Barbosa is now tied with Teddy Kaufman for the team lead with four wins and is tied with Randy Fontanez for the team lead in strikeouts (63)... He leads the team in ERA (2.55).