TAMPA – The University of South Florida (4-4) baseball team defeated Conference USA opponent Marshall 13-1 Friday night at Red McEwen Field.
Sophomore Junior Carlin went 4-for-4 with two RBIs, leading the Bulls' offense for the second-straight game. He is batting .909 on the season with 10 hits in 11 at bats. Against Towson on March 1, he was 5-for-5 with three RBIs in USF's 15-9 win over Towson in the Florida Gulf Coast Classic.
"Junior just brings excitement to the ball park," said Coach Lelo Pradao. "It's a great start for him and we needed that from him tonight."
Sophomore starting pitcher Derrick Stultz had a solid outing on the mound, striking out five, scattering five hits and giving up just two walks to earn his second win of the year. He got himself out of a jam in the top of the fourth when, with two outs, Marshall loaded the bases by a hit batter, a double and a walk. This brought up Kevin Shackelford, who was already 1-for-1 on the night. Stultz was able to strike out the .364 hitter to end the inning without giving up a run.
Offensively, senior Chris Rey and freshman Sam Mende both had a pair of hits in the game and Mende picked up three RBI and scored once. Rey, who was listed on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll last week, tagged his team-leading fifth double of the season and 13th RBI of the year.
"We did some good things early in the game when we had to," said Prado. "We had big hits with guys in scoring position. We played a solid game, made some nice defensive plays. This is a good team. We got some guys on base and made some things happen. We needed a game like this."
The game went scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when the Bulls batted through the lineup and produced eight runs. Senior designated hitter Chris Rey led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a bunt by Carlin, who beat the throw and was safe at first. This rattled the Marshall pitcher, as two runs were walked in. Senior outfielder Mike Consolmagno drew the walk to score freshman shortstop Sam Mende and outfielder Ryan Lockwood walked to score secondbaseman Peter Brotons.
Marshall made a pitching change and put Arik Sikula on the mound, who allowed a sacrifice fly to sophomore Jonathan Koscso, that scored redshirt freshman catcher Andrew Longley. Redshirt freshman firstbaseman Todd Brazeal was then hit by a pitch, which loaded the bases again and a passed ball scored Consolmagno to make it 5-0.
Rey, who led off the inning, came to the plate again, sending a base hit through the right side, which plated Lockwood. Carlin singled to left field to score Brazeal. A defensive miscue with the shortstop, second baseman and center fielder on a pop up by Mende led to Rey scoring USF's eighth run of the inning.
The Bulls added one run in the sixth as Koscso and Carlin collected hits and senior Brandon Smith drew a walk, which extended the lead to 9-0.
Marshall broke up the shutout in the top of the seventh when the Thundering Herd scored one run from a pair of hits.
In the eighth, USF scored four more runs from one hit and a Marshall error to seal the 13-1 victory.
Carlin is 9-for-9 in his past two games at the plate, which is the most consecutive hits for a Bull since 2003. Since 1999, only two players have eight consecutive hits – Johnny Raburn and Mike Cunningham. In 2000, Raburn had a hit in his last at bat on Feb. 26, then was 4-for-4 on Feb. 27, and collected three singles in the March 3 game to total eight consecutive hits. In 2003, Cunningham was 5-for-5 on March 7 and 3-for-3 on March 8, both games against Siena. In his last two games, Carlin is 5-for-5 and 4-for-4 respectively. Since 1999, only six players (seven times) have gone 5-for-5 and only 14 players (15 times) have gone 4-for-4. Carlin is the only player to accomplish both feats.
Jonathan Koscso and Peter Brotons each extended their hitting streak to eight games in the first of three games against Marshall.
The Bulls (4-4) and Thundering Herd (3-4) meet at the same time and place – 7 p.m. Red McEwen Field – on Saturday, then have an early game, 11 a.m. on Sunday.