A LOOK AT THE SERIES
WHO: Notre Dame (15-8) at USF (18-8)
SCHEDULE: 7 p.m. Friday; 6 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: USF baseball stadium
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The second installment of USF's Big East season could very well be called a tale of two very similar teams.
The Bulls bring a 3-0 conference record into this weekend's home series with Notre Dame, also 3-0 in the league, when play begins 7 p.m. Friday at the USF baseball stadium.
"You're going to see a team like ours - sound, plays good defense, they pitch," USF head coach Lelo Prado said.
Both teams are averaging five runs per game, but fans should expect low scoring affairs if things continue to go as normal.
USF leads the league with a team earned run average of 3.04 with Notre Dame not far behind at 3.72 and both squads have the top two pitchers in the conference from a statistical standpoint. Notre Dame's Will Hudgins leads the Big East with a 1.08 ERA with USF's Matt Reed the next man up at 1.89.
"It's going to go down to who makes the least amount of errors because both pitching staffs are good," Prado said.
Both teams also head into the series with confidence. USF (18-8) has won four straight and has taken eight of its past 10 contests. Notre Dame (15-8) has won seven of its past 10 and had its five-game winning streak snapped Tuesday with an 8-5 loss to the University of Illinois-Chicago.
USF will be going with a starting rotation of Andrew Barbosa, Joey Lovecchio and Derrick Stultz that has Prado feeling pretty good. The Bulls' talented arms have gone a combined 11-3 this season and USF will be going with a very hot hand to start. Barbosa (3-2, 2.30 ERA) is coming off performance last Friday when he struck out 13 in six shutout innings of a 6-0 win over Georgetown.
"If we're going to have a shot to win the Big East title those weekend guys have to come in, pitch well and give us a chance to win," Prado said.