TAMPA – University of South Florida sophomore Ryan Lockwood sent the third pitch of the first inning over the right field wall, which started the 15-7 rout of Rutgers Saturday night at Red McEwen Field.
USF (12-7) improves to 2-0 in league play as Rutgers (8-10) drops to 0-2.
The Bulls collected 15 runs on 15 hits against the Scarlet Knights, just one day after gathering six runs from 18 hits.
“Our guys did a great job at getting great at-bats,” said Coach Lelo Prado. “Everybody went up there and had great approaches, and even the guys off the bench had great approaches. We came out with a great win tonight.”
USF starting pitcher Derrick Stultz earned his third victory of the season after pitching 5.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out four.
Dennis Hill started for Rutgers and was pulled after just two-thirds of an inning after allowing six earned runs on five hits.
“It was a great night and a great victory for us,” added Prado. “If we want to win a BIG EAST Championship then on days like tomorrow we have to come out and sweep.”
The Bulls had five batters with multi-hit games and multi-RBI games including Jonathan Koscso who collected three hits for the fourth time this season. He also drove in three runs for the Bulls. Lockwood (2-4), Todd Brazeal (2-3), Junior Carlin (2-3) and Peter Brotons (2-4) each collected a pair of hits.
The Scarlet Knights took the early lead in the top of the first, but the Bulls answered in the next frame when Lockwood led off the game with a solo home run to right field, his first round-tripper of the season.
Koscso followed the homer with a single, and advanced to second on a throwing error by Jaren Matthews and eventually scored on a wild pitch. A Brazeal double, a walk by Stephen Hunt and Chris Rey reaching on a catcher’s interference loaded the bases. Carlin then walked to bring in Brazeal.
Andrew Longley drove in the third run of the game on a sacrifice fly to left field, and Brotons got hit by a pitch to reload the bases. Lockwood picked up his second RBI of the inning with a single up the middle scoring Carlin and Rey and giving the Bulls a 6-1 lead after batting around in the first inning.
Stultz breezed through the first three innings allowing just a double to Luis Feliz in the second and a solo home run to Lang in the third.
Scarlet Knights pitcher Billy Murphy took over for Hill in the first inning and kept the Bulls scoreless until the fourth inning.
In the top of the fourth, a double by Feliz and singles by Jarred Jiminez and Vinnie Sangemino cut the USF lead to two.
Lockwood walked to begin the bottom of the fourth and advanced to third on a Koscso single. Brazeal gave the Bulls some insurance with a sacrifice fly which scored Lockwood, pushing the game to 7-4.
The Bulls had another offensive explosion in the bottom of the fifth inning, batting through the entire lineup for the second time of the game. In the fifth they drew two walks, a single and two doubles including double baggers from Brotons and Brazeal to give USF five runs in the inning and a 12-4 lead.
USF RHP Joe Cole relieved Stultz and gave the Bulls two scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh.
Rutgers cut the lead to 14-6 after getting a double by Dan Betteridge and a single by Steven Zavala off of Doug Wagner.
The Bulls were able to add another insurance run in the eighth to make the score 15-6 as redshirt freshman Ryan Garcia tagged his first-career hit, a single to center field.
Sophomore Zach Pietryzk came in to close things out for the victory, striking out one of his five batters faced.
The Bulls will look to pick up a sweep of Rutgers Sunday at 1 p.m. at Red McEwen Field.
USF is currently on a five-game home BIG EAST winning streak, dating back to 2008 when the Bulls swept Notre Dame May 15-17.
USF has won seven of its last eight BIG EAST games at Red McEwen Field, including Rutgers (2009), Notre Dame (2008) and two against Villanova (2008).
Coach Lelo Prado has won the opening BIG EAST series in each of his three seasons at USF. The Bulls beat Pittsburg (2007) and Seton Hall (2008) twice, and now has a pair of wins over Rutgers to take the series.