USF- 11, Seton Hall- 9
After USF beat Seton Hall on Friday and Saturday in two low-scoring pitcher duels, the Pirates and Bulls combined for 20 runs and 25 hits Sunday at Red McEwen Field in the final game of the series.
A five-run fourth inning and four-run fifth inning helped USF (14-11, 5-1) earn an 11-9 victory, complete the sweep of Seton Hall (6-15, 1-5) and extend its winning streak to five games.
“All weekend long, our guys were resilient,” coach Eddie Cardieri said. “They were very, very tough. They faced some very good pitchers. They had some very good at-bats. They did a good job creating situations and battling, and I’m very happy with our overall team effort.”
The Bulls went into the bottom of the fourth inning trailing 3-2 but scored five runs off four hits. Sophomore Dexter Butler and junior Nick Cardieri, who started the bottom half of the inning with consecutive singles, both scored before sophomore Joey Angelberger came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Angelberger drove in three runs on a triple to give USF a 7-3 lead.
“(I) saw a good pitch, put a good swing on it, and it just happened to go to the wall,” said Angelberger, who finished the game 3-for-5. “The outfielder took a bad route to it, so I got to third.”
The Pirates responded in the top of the fifth inning with two runs, but the Bulls scored four runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning when freshman Addison Maruszak hit a three-RBI double. Senior Brian Baisley then drove home Maruszak with a single to extend USF’s lead to 11-5.
“A new pitcher came in, so I was watching him warm up,” said Maruszak, who finished 3-for-5 and raised his batting average to .359. “He looked like he was having trouble with the fastball, leaving it up, so I was actually looking for the fastball up, and he threw it up just as I thought he would.”
After a scoreless sixth inning and six-run lead, it appeared as though the Bulls had the game won, but Seton Hall wasn’t finished. With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, the Pirates loaded the bases and freshman Chris Affinito hit his first collegiate home run – a grand slam – to bring Seton Hall within two runs.
“(I’m) just so happy that we were tough enough to pull it out, because once we pulled ahead there by six runs, we let it get away from us, and as baseball goes, some crazy things happen,” Cardieri said. “The wind’s blowing at a hundred miles an hour, and their guy got one up, hit a ball good, got it up in the wind and hit it out.”
USF held the Pirates scoreless after Affinito’s grand slam.
Junior Casey Hudspeth struck out a career-high 12 batters Friday night to help the Bulls win 2-1. Collectively, the USF pitching staff struck out 17 Seton Hall batters in the first game.
Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Pirates was the fourth walk-off victory for the Bulls in six tries. Senior Matt McHargue hit a two-run pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to seal the series win for the USF.
“(We’re) 5-1 in the Big East, and I’m very happy where we’re sitting right now within our league and happy with the fact that we’re playing better,” Cardieri said. “And we can still play a lot better.”