Louisville (15-18, 6-3) at USF (15-19, 5-7)
When: Tonight, 7
Where: Red McEwen Field Radio: USF Press Pass available at www.gousfbulls.edu
The story: With a short week due to the Easter holiday on Sunday, the Bulls look to get back on track in the Big East after snapping an eight-game losing streak against UCF on Tuesday.
The Bulls, however, are still on a six-game conference losing streak after being swept by Cincinnati and Notre Dame.
Tonight USF will start junior right-hander Casey Hudspeth on the mound with his 4.61 ERA and his team-high 62 strikeouts. Louisville, sitting four spots ahead of the Bulls in the conference at fourth place, bring junior right-hander B.J. Rosenberg with his 4.14 ERA and 32 strikeouts.
With just five conference series left on the season, USF is sitting in the last spot to make the Big East Tournament in Clearwater starting May 25. Seton Hall, at a conference record of 4-8, is just one game behind the Bulls, but USF holds a three-game sweep advantage over the Pirates.
On paper, offensively, it seems the Bulls aren’t struggling. They’re third in the league in hits (337), eighth in on-base percentage (.364), fourth in doubles (62) and first in at-bats (1,196). USF is still lacking in the home run department, though, with just 11 on the season.
The Cardinals, on paper, are not fairing very well, as they have a team batting average of .281. USF’s is .282.
Senior left fielder Kris Howell, who has a team-high .344 batting average, hit the game-winning RBI double Tuesday and leads the team in hits (44). Freshman shortstop Addison Maruszak has added 15 RBI and a team-high 10 doubles this season.
Offensively, Louisville is led by Logan Johnson with a team-high six home runs, .349 batting average and 12 doubles. Jorge Castillo has added 40 hits, 27 RBI and two home runs this season.
Keep an eye on: Hudspeth. Not having a standout season as expected, has given up 28 earned runs this season, four home runs, and has walked 23 batters. The junior, who will be making his 20th start as a Bull today, gave up a career high 10 runs against Jacksonville on Feb. 18, and has had trouble pitching deep into games. With a 3-4 record in nine starts, Hudspeth will be looking to achieve midseason form for the late preseason push.
– Mike Camunas