First Place USF Downs Notre Dame, 6-5
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 F USF
USF vs. UNF | 4 p.m. | Red McEwen Field | Tampa
USF vs. UNF | 7 p.m. | Red McEwen Field | Tampa
BIG EAST Top Four
1. USF, 18-6
2. Louisville, 16-7
3. West Virginiga 16-8
4. St. John's, 15-9
After recording 16 hits on May 10 at Notre Dame, USF has 34 double-digit hit games this season. The Bulls collected double-digit hits in all three games against the Fighting Irish. The season high is 18 hits, which the Bulls have accomplished three times this year, the last in the 11-2 victory over West Virginia on April 25.
The two losses to Notre Dame are only the second time this season the Bulls have lost a BIG EAST series. The other was against Connecticut March 27-29 in Storrs, when the Huskies took the first two before USF came up with the Sunday victory.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of South Florida baseball team moved one step closer to a regular season BIG EAST Championship by beating Notre Dame, 6-5, on Sunday afternoon.
The Bulls improved to 31-19 on the season and 18-6 in conference play after winning the final game of the series against Notre Dame. The win along with the Louisville loss to St. John’s gives USF a 1.5 game lead over the Cardinals in the BIG EAST standings. Louisville is 16-7 in league play.
USF and Louisville will square off in the final series of the regular season this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Bulls can clinch the regular season championship and a No. 1 seed in the conference tournament by winning one of the three games at Louisville.
The Bulls avoided the three-game sweep thanks to a two-out game-winning RBI single by freshman Daniel Rockhold in the top of the ninth.
The Notre Dame loss dropped the Fighting Irish to 29-19 on the season and 13-11 in BIG EAST play.
USF starter Shawn Sanford lasted 6.2 innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits while striking out three.
Stephen Hunt came in to relieve Sanford with two outs in the seventh, and he surrendered one run on one hit before getting out of the inning.
After Rockhold’s go-ahead RBI in the top of the ninth, Joe Cole struck out two Notre Dame players to finish a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning. Cole pitched two innings and allowed one run on two hits to earn his second win of the season.
Notre Dame starting pitch Eric Maust pitched 7.1 innings and allowed five runs, four earned, on 14 hits while striking out four. Four Notre Dame relievers combined to allow one run on two hits while striking out one, with David Mills surrendering the hit to Rockhold to suffer the loss.
The Bulls got another three-hit performance from Junior Carlin on Sunday, after he recorded a three-hit performance on Saturday night. Todd Brazeal also collected three hits and an RBI in the 6-5 victory, but the star of the game was Rockhold, who came in to replace Trey Manz, and went 2-4 with two RBI including the game-winner in the ninth.
USF struck first for the second-straight game, plating one run from three consecutive one-out hits from Jonathan Koscso, Junior Carlin and Todd Brazeal.
Notre Dame answered with a double, a sacrifice and a single to tie the game at one heading into the top of the second inning.
After a pair of scoreless innings, USF scored one in the fourth and added another in the next frame to take the 3-1 lead.
In the fourth, a leadoff single from Brazeal was followed by a double to right by Chris Rey. With one out, Daniel Rockhold grounded out to shortstop, earning his 11th RBI of the year.
An inning later the Bulls connected on three more base hits and a sac fly from Koscso plated USF’s third run of the game.
Notre Dame tied it up in the bottom of the seventh after the leadoff batter reached on an error then a trio of consecutive one-out base hits from the bottom of the order.
The Bulls regained the lead in the top of the eighth after Brandon Smith led off with a single to left and Sam Mende doubled down the left field line to set the table for Peter Brotons. Brotons reached on a dropped fly ball to left scoring Smith from third. USF manufactured another run when Mende came in to score on a ground ball by Lockwood.
The Fighting Irish were able to counter in the bottom of the inning as they got a solo home run from Barnes and an RBI double from Connoley to tie the game at five.
The magic came for the Bulls with two outs in the top of the ninth as senior Mike Consolmagno singled and Smith was hit by a pitch to bring up Rockhold. Rockhold ripped the ball into left field to score Consolmagno and give the Bulls the 6-5 lead.
This lead the Bulls would not squander. Cole came in and struck out two Notre Dame players in a perfect 1-2-3 ninth to seal the victory for USF.
The Bulls host UNF Tuesday before heading to Louisville for the final BIG EAST series. USF and UNF will finish the previously suspended game, which will begin in the fifth inning, at 4 p.m., then will play the second game immediately following at Red McEwen Field in Tampa.
The Bulls and Cardinals play in Kentucky, May 14-16.