Over the weekend, the USF baseball team faced off against No. 2 Miami and had a close chance to notch its second win against the team in as many years.
But the Hurricanes scored nine runs to overcome a 9-2 USF lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, for an 11-9 win at Mark Light Field on Friday. The Bulls nearly held on, even after five runs in the sixth inning by Miami, but Brendan Katin’s two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth gave them the win.
Until the bottom of the sixth, USF was sailing on sophomore pitcher Casey Hudspeth and a 9-2 lead after the offense put four on the board in the top half of the inning. Through five innings, Hudspeth allowed just four hits with seven strikeouts. While he did allow two runs in the first – which included a leadoff home run by Danny Figueroa – he faced the minimum 12 batters in the second through fifth innings.
But in the sixth, Miami used three Bulls errors to close to within 9-7. In the seventh, with freshman Daniel Thomas brought in for relief, the Hurricanes had two walks. Then Ryan Braun drove in both runners to tie the game, before Katin’s eighth- inning home run sealed the game.
“We fell apart in the sixth inning,” said USF head coach Eddie Cardieri. “We had a couple of plays that we could make and we didn’t make.”
The game was to feature a duel between Hudspeth and Miami junior Cesar Carrillo, who had allowed just one hit in six innings in his previous start. But Carrillo was a late scratch when he arrived to the park late for the game. Brandon Camardese lasted 2 1/3 innings in his place and allowed five runs on five hits.
On Saturday, the Bulls dropped the second game against the Hurricanes as the team had two costly errors that led to three of Miami’s six runs in the first three innings and the 7-5 win.
Cardieri and his son, Nick, who plays second base, were ejected on back-to-back pitches in the eighth inning after arguing two separate strike calls on the younger Cardieri.
“(The errors and walks) are frustrating,” said coach Cardieri. “We understand and I think as coaches we need to have patience. We have a lot of young players. We have young kids all over the place.
“Do we have to be patient? Yes. But, will they get it and start playing more consistently? I think they will.”
USF starter Nick Manganaro (0-1) struggled during the bottom of the first, and an error by shortstop Dexter Butler kept the inning alive for Miami. After Manganaro gave up two singles, a wild pitch allowed Paco Figueroa to score.
The Hurricanes’ starter Dan Toucet (1-0) put down the first six USF batters in order before the Baisley brothers, Jeff and Brian, helped score three runs in the third inning flurry. Brian opened the inning with a single to left center and scored on a Joey Angelberger ground out to third. Jeff then hit a ground rule double that scored Jeremy Bellotti and Ty Taborelli, who were on second and first base, respectively.
Manganaro pitched three innings, allowed six runs, three walks and had four strikeouts in the loss.
USF did close to within 6-4, when Taborelli’s one-out triple into the right field corner in the fifth was followed by an Angelberger double, and in the eighth, scored one more. But the Bulls left runners on second and third to end the inning after both Cardieri’s had been ejected.
On Sunday, the Bulls (3-3) dropped their third game against Miami (7-0), 9-4, as Hurricanes’ starter Chris Perez had a career-high nine strikeouts.
Hierlmeier gave USF a 2-1 lead in the third with a two-RBI single that scored Taborelli and Bellotti. Later, he also hit a two-run homerun in the ninth for the Bulls’ only runs.
Danny Figueroa tied the game in the bottom of the inning when he hit his second home run of the season, and then Miami took the lead with Ryan Braun’s two-run shot in the fourth.