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Mende Home Run | Coach Prado Postgame | Fontanez Postgame




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2009 BIG EAST Baseball Championship Schedule:

Tuesday, May 19 - Four games
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com, live audio on Sirius XM Radio)
Game 1 – No. 5 Notre Dame 14, No. 4 St. John’s 5
Game 2 – No. 1 Louisville 12, No. 8 Cinicnnati 2 (7)
Game 3 – No. 6 Connecticut 6, No. 3 West Virginia 1
Game 4 – No. 7 Pittsburgh vs. No. 2 USF, PPD to 10 a.m. Wednesday

Wednesday, May 20 - Four games
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com, live audio on Sirius XM Radio)
Game 4 – No. 2 USF 12, No. 7 Pittsburgh 2 (8)
Game 5 – No. 4 St. John’s vs. No. 8 Cinicnnati 1 p.m.
Game 6 – No. 5 Notre Dame  vs. No. 1 Louisville, 5 p.m.
Game 7 – No. 3 West Virginia vs. No. 7 Pittsburgh, 8 p.m.

Thursday, May 21 - Two games
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com, live audio on Sirius XM Radio)
Game 8 – No. 6 Connecticut vs. No. 2 USF, 10 a.m.
Game 9 – Loser of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 5, 4 p.m.
Game 10 – Loser of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 6, 7 p.m.
 
Friday, May 22 - Two, three, or four games
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com, live audio on Sirius XM Radio)
Game 11 – Winner of Game 7 vs. Winner of Game 9, 10 a.m.
Game 12 – Winner of Game 8 vs. Winner of Game 10, 1 p.m.
Game 13 – Loser of Game 11 vs. Winner of Game 11, 5 p.m. (if necessary)
Game 14 – Loser of Game 12 vs. Winner of Game 12, 6:30 p.m. or 8 p.m.
(if necessary; game would be at 6:30 if Game 13 is not necessary, 8 p.m. otherwise)

Saturday, May 23 - Championship game
(live television on ESPNU, live audio on Sirius XM Radio)
Game 15 – Winner of Group 1 vs. Winner of Group 2, 1 p.m.

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The University of South Florida (33-23) baseball team won their first game of the BIG EAST Tournament by defeating Pittsburgh 12-2 in eight innings.

The Bulls mercy ruled the Panthers (28-20) on a game-ending three run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning by Sam Mende.

"It started out a little shaky, but Randy [Fontanez] settled down," said head coach Lelo Prado. "I'm happy with the win. Now it's a matter of win and move on. After last week, when we didn't do a very good offensively, it was nice to see our bats going."

USF got a complete game eight inning performance from sophomore starter Randy Fontanez (7-3) who allowed a pair of runs and eight hits while striking out one. Pittsburgh scored a run in the first and in the second, but Fontanez held them scoreless over the final six innings.

"The first two innings, I was kind of excited, not playing well, but after that I settled down and got it done," said Fontanez. "We need to keep it going and hopefully keep hitting and pitching like we did today and make it to Saturday."

Pittsburgh starter Nate Reed (4-6) pitched 5.2 innings and allowed nine runs, seven earned, on 10 hits to take the loss.

The Bulls were led by Jonathan Koscso who collected three hits and scored three times. USF also got a pair of hits from four other players including Junior Carlin, Chris Rey, Sam Mende and Todd Brazeal. Mende collected four RBI while Brazeal walked three times.

With the victory over Pitt, the Bulls have now won their opening round game in the BIG EAST Tournament in each of the last three years. USF is now 2-0 all-time against the Panthers in the BIG EAST Tournament.

After Pittsburgh took the 1-0 lead in the first frame off a solo home run, USF tied it up with a two-out base hit by Chris Rey. The Panthers regained the lead in the second on a pair of base hits.

The Bulls broke open the game with eight runs over the next four innings, scoring three in the third, three more in the fifth and two in the sixth.

In the third, three consecutive USF batters reached base safely as Junior Carlin and Jonathan Koscso tagged base hits, Todd Brazeal reached on a walk, then Hunt reached on an error that plated a pair of USF runs. Chris Rey then hit into a double play, which allowed the Bulls’ third run of the inning to score.

Two innings later Koscso ripped a double to left center then scored as Brazeal sent a base hit to center field. Hunt drew a walk, then Mende drove in Brazeal with a two-out base hit.

With two outs in the sixth, the Bulls loaded the bases for Chris Rey, who sent a long shot down the right field line that bounced off the ground, then the wall and into the maintenance area for a ground rule double that plated two runs.

In the eighth, got a walk from Brazeal with one out, and after Hunt flied out to left, pinch-hitter Brandon Smith was hit by a pitch to bring up Mende. Mende took the first pitch over the wall in left field to give the Bulls the 12-2 victory due to a 10-run mercy rule.

USF will play their second game of the tournament against Connecticut on Thursday at 10 a.m. at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. The Bulls are 0-2 against UConn in the history of the BIG EAST Tournament after the Huskies defeated USF twice in 2007. After winning their first two games of the tournament in ’07, the Bulls lost two straight to the Huskies 3-0 and 2-0 respectively to get knocked out.

The Bulls lost two of three games in 2009 against Connecticut March 27-29 in Storrs, Conn.

Stay tuned to GoUSFBulls.com for updates on the USF baseball team and the BIG EAST Tournament.