TAMPA, Fla. (March 9, 2007) – After taking an early three-run lead, and despite a home run in the bottom of the ninth, the University of South Florida Bulls (12-5) dropped their fifth game of the season, 5-4, to Quinnipiac (1-1) Friday night at Red McEwen Field.
Senior right hander Yuri Higgins earned his first start of the season, his ninth appearance, against the Bobcats. In 5.0 innings, Higgins struck out 10 of his 29 batters faced. Higgins retired five of his first 10 batters, but took his first loss (1-1) of the year.
Junior shortstop Walter Diaz was 2-for-5 at the plate, including a double, and notched two RBI. Sophomore third baseman Addison Maruszak continued his nine-game hitting streak with a double in the fifth.
USF scored first for the fourth-consecutive game, dating back to the second game of the Central Michigan double-header on March 4.
After a base hit to center field, Diaz scored as junior Brandin Daniel blasted a triple to right field, registering his team-leading 26th RBI of the season.
After a walk from freshman outfielder Ryan Soares, sophomore catcher Braulio Pardo singled up the middle, setting up a sacrifice bunt by junior outfielder Josh LeRoy. Diaz doubled to center field, collecting two RBI and helping the Bulls to a 3-0 lead.
Quinnipiac scored four runs over the next two innings, including a two-run home run in the third, to take the 4-3 lead and the win.
Junior left hander Davis Bilardello came in for relief in the sixth, pitching 3.1 innings with four strikeouts, and freshman Shawn Sanford closed the game, collecting the Bulls’ final two outs of the game, registering one strikeout.
In the bottom of the ninth, junior Ty Taborelli cracked his second home run of the season, a solo shot over the right field fence, to bring the score within one.
Butler and sophomore Addison Maruszak each drew walks to put two runners on base as Daniel stepped to the plate. Daniel, who was 1-for-4 on the night, struck out swinging to end the game.
Following tonight’s contest, the Bulls, who will have played seven games in nine days, end the week with a 6 p.m. game against Michigan State on Saturday at Red McEwen Field. Senior right handed pitcher Danny Otero will get the start on the mound.
On Sunday, Michigan State and Quinnipiac will play at noon at Red McEwen Field.