USF baseball coach Eddie Cardieri knew the team needed a win in the first round of the Conference USA tournament to even be considered for further postseason play. The Bulls answered with their fourth win against Louisville this season. This time the first-round shellacking of the Cardinals ended in the eighth inning with a 10-run rule victory for South Florida.
“(The result) was a surprise,” Cardieri said. “The skill we showed didn’t surprise me, but the overall win did. Every hop went our way.”
The Bulls took the series at Louisville during the regular season so the 10-0 victory against the No. 2 Cardinals on Wednesday was ruled by Cardieri as the epitome of hard work and good performances from his team, especially from sophomore pitcher Jon Uhl.
“The story of this game was Jon. Jon has had command of three pitches lately,” Cardieri said. “After we got those six (in the fifth inning), I think he was smelling the win.”
Senior center fielder Mike Barclay again spearheaded the Bulls’ lineup going 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBI. Barclay is 12-for-20 and batting .600 in his last five games.
“Barclay had another good ball game,” Cardieri said. “He had a clutch single with the bases loaded and the infield drawn in that scored two.”
Next up for the Bulls will be East Carolina tonight at 7 p.m. ECU defeated TCU in the first round of the tournament.
Cardieri’s focus is finishing the tournament strong, but he admitted that he has been putting a lot of thought into the number of bids C-USA will get in the NCAA Regional tournament.
“That’s always a tough question,” Cardieri said. “There are seven (C-USA teams) that could go, but, realistically, we’ll be lucky to get six. Houston and Louisville are definitely in, and everyone else is on that bubble.”
“You know it all depends on how the conference tournaments play out,” Cardieri said. “Upset winners in the tournament changes things. They take up spots that we can’t afford to have taken up.”
Bulls earn conference honors
Freshman third baseman Jeff Baisley and sophomore shortstop Myron Leslie were named to the C-USA All-Conference Second Team. Baisley is leading the Bulls with a .357 batting average and 57 RBI; he also has 79 hits on the season. Leslie is batting .310 on the season but exploded during C-USA competition. He has a conference leading 31 RBI in league play and 17 doubles on the season.
Baisley, along with freshman catcher Devin Ivany, also made the All-Conference Freshmen team. Ivany has a team leading 10 home runs with 51 RBI and a .315 batting average.