TAMPA –The University of South Florida won their season series against UCF by defeating the Knights 9-3 on Wednesday night at Red McEwen Field.
The victory was the third of the season for USF against the Knights as they won back-to-back games on March 10 and 11 by a combined score of 21-10.
"Winning three out of four against these guys is good for our program. We came back tonight and did a good job," said head coach Lelo Prado.
USF got another great outing from its starting pitcher as Teddy Kaufman pitched 8.1 innings and allowed nine hits and three runs while striking out seven to earn his second victory of the season.
"The story today was Teddy Kaufman. He pitched a great game. We knew we needed a good outing out of him and he did it," said Prado. "Our guys put some runs on the board, and we got ahead and kept the lead. Now we will get ready for Cincinnati this weekend."
Kaufman was relieved by Kevin Quackenbush, who came in to collect the final two outs of the game.
UCF used a total of five pitchers on the night as starter Bryan Brown lasted just three innings and allowed three runs on four hits while striking out three in his seventh loss of the year.
Trey Manz led the Bulls offensively in the victory, as he accounted for three hits including a home run in the sixth, his fifth of the season. The home run is his first since the home run against Pittsburgh, which forced the game to extra innings. Manz also had a double and a base hit in the game.
The Bulls also got a pair of hits from Jonathan Koscso, Stephen Hunt and Junior Carlin. Carlin is now 11-17 in his last four games, after being named BIG EAST Player of the Week for his performance against West Virginia.
The middle of the USF lineup proved to be dominant in the win, as the 2-3-4 hitters, Koscso, Hunt and Brazeal each drove in a pair of runs.
"We had some good at bats. When we play like that and get good at-bats, we are pretty good. I was a little disappointed with last night, but our guys bounced back. Now we have to get ready for Cincinnati and finish out the BIG EAST," said Prado.
It took until the seventh inning, but Ryan Lockwood was able to reach base safely with a single to extend his streak to 86 games.
With two outs in the top of the first, UCF got a double off of the bat of Shane Brown, their first runner of the game. After Brandon Romans reached on an error, Kiko Vazquez singled through the right side to score Brown and give UCF the early 1-0 lead.
Both offenses were held quiet until the Bulls tied up the game in the second. Brazeal led things off with a double to left center followed by a single by Carlin. Brazeal then scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Rey.
The Bulls added another pair of runs in the third after Koscso walked and Hunt tripled him in. Hunt would come in to score on a ground ball to short by Brazeal to give USF the 3-1 edge.
The bottom of the fourth proved to be the most successful for the Bulls as they combined for four runs on three hits. USF got singles from Rey, Manz and Koscso as they batted around and took the 7-1 lead.
USF would add another pair of runs as Manz led off the fifth with a solo home run, his fifth of the season and good for a tie for the team lead. Brotons and Koscso both singled to bring up Hunt, who doubled to right and scored Brotons giving USF the 9-1 lead through five.
Romans led off the top of the sixth for the Knights with a single up the middle. D.J. Hicks, who hit a pair of home runs in Tuesday’s game, doubled down the right field line. After Romans scored on a ground out by Jake Huxtable, Chris Duffy singled to score Hicks and cut the USF lead to 9-3.
Kaufman and Quackenbush combined to shut UCF down over the final three innings and improved USF to 28-16 on the season.
The Bulls will look to extend its lead in the BIG EAST standings this weekend at Red McEwen Field against Cincinnati. The first pitch on Friday will fly at 7 p.m.