CLEARWATER - The Bulls split their season opening games in the Big Ten-Big East
Challenge on Saturday.
USF dropped the first game to Louisville, 10-1, but overwhelmed Purdue, 20-2,
in its second game at Bright House Field.
"Total disappointment in the first game," said head coach Lelo Prado. "Just
disappointed in the way we came out of the gate."
Louisville jumped on the board first taking a 4-0 lead in the first inning and
the Cardinals continued to pile on the runs.
Louisville scored 10 runs on 10 hits to help put the game away.
Jordan Strittmatter walked and pinch hitter Nik Alfonso ended the shutout on a
single up the middle to score Strittmatter in the ninth inning and give USF its
first run of the game.
USF scored one run on seven hits and committed five errors.
Starting pitcher Nick Gonzalez pitched 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on two
hits. Justin Patrick, Lawrence Pardo and Joe Adel all came in for
relief. They gave up a combined six runs on eight hits.
USF's bats came alive early in the second game against Purdue.
"I am real happy that we bounced back in the second game," said Prado.
The Bulls batted around the order to take an early 9-0 lead. James Ramsay
scored two runs and picked up two RBI's in the first inning.
Ramsay continued his hot hitting in the second inning with a two-run homerun to
extend the Bulls lead to 11-0. The outfielder batted 2-for-6 adding three
runs, four RBI's and one stolen base.
USF stretched its lead to 12-0 in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI-single
by Chris Norton that brought Chad Taylor across the plate.
Purdue got on the scoreboard in the fifth. Conner Hudnall and Sean McHugh
hit back-to back RBI-singles up the middle to cut the Bulls lead to 12-2.
Starting pitcher Joey Lovecchio pitched five solid innings giving up five hits,
two runs, five strikeouts and no walks.
"I told him before the game that we needed him (Lovecchio)," said Prado. "He
stepped up and did a great job."
The Bulls offense came alive again in the seventh inning bringing four runners
across the plate.
Alex Mendez led off with a triple, Norton and Alonso both hit RBI-doubles, and
Taylor followed with an RBI-single to extend the Bulls lead to 16-2.
USF was able to keep things rolling in the eighth and ninth innings adding four
runs to take a commanding 20-2 lead. The Bulls beat the Big Ten-Big East
Challenge record of runs scored in a game with 20.
The Bulls will face Indiana in the final game of the challenge 1 p.m. Sunday at
Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Florida.
"Lets see if we can build on this and get Indiana tomorrow," said Prado.