After hitting .529 in his last four games, junior Travis Brown was named Conference USA Hitter of the Week Monday.
His recent success at the plate, which included a game-winning double against Saint Louis on Sunday, also netted him a higher spot in the Bulls’ batting order.
“I’m really, really happy for him and very proud,” USF coach Eddie Cardieri said. “He deserves it. He had a great week.”
Friday, Brown started in the ninth batting position, was moved to the seventh position Saturday (going 4-for-5) and two spots up to the fifth position Sunday.
“You are always more important to the team when you are hitting in certain positions in the lineup, (especially) when you’re hot like he is right now,” Cardieri said.
Sophomore pitcher Matt Ingram will make his first start for the Bulls after 30 appearances out of the bullpen in two years for USF. The left-hander has a 3.26 ERA, an improvement from last season.
Brown went 1-0 in 19 appearances out of the bullpen last year and ended the season with a 7.06 ERA. Ingram met the Knights on April 1 when he pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on two hits while striking out two batters.
Tonight’s game will mark the third time that USF plays UCF this season. The Bulls have won the last two and are looking for the sweep in Orlando. After today’s game, USF will have three, possibly four, more non-conference games this season. Two scheduled games are against Stetson, in addition to a rainout makeup May 13 vs. the Hatters and possibly another makeup against Bethune-Cookman.
With the non-conference games winding down, the conference series are picking up. The Bulls have 15 conference games left, and Cardieri said they realize the importance of mid-week games, but also know they have to be dominant within their league.
“Conference USA is our vehicle to the NCAA Tournament, but as I always say, we need all the wins we can get,” Cardieri said. “Every win is vital, but we have to be up there in the top of the pack in our league.”
Chris Wagenheim covers USF baseball and can be reached at email@example.com