After snapping a five-game losing streak by winning the first two games of its weekend series against Seton Hall, the USF baseball team could not complete its sweep – dropping its final game against the Pirates by a score of 4-1 Sunday.
Following the game, coach Lelo Prado expressed frustration with his team’s defensive play, as well as its inability to complete a series sweep.
“I’m very disappointed because we didn’t play any kind of defense today,” Prado said. “It was awful. We missed a fly ball, we had a passed ball – we should have won that game 1-0, but we’re not used to sweeping anybody so that’s what we can expect. The best (we can do) is 2 out of 3.”
The Bulls (30-22, 12-12) were held without a hit until the top of the fifth inning when sophomore Addison Maruszak sent a single into left field. In the seventh inning, senior Walter Diaz scored the Bulls’ only run of the game on a RBI double by junior Dexter Butler.
Although he was credited with the loss, USF pitcher Chris Delaney had a solid start. The junior right-hander threw a complete eight-inning game, allowing seven hits and four runs while striking out five. After the game, Delaney reiterated the defensive woes that plagued the Bulls in Sunday’s loss.
“There were a few key misplays by the defense today that really cost us the game,” Delaney said. “I don’t know whether they were necessarily mental errors or just bad luck, but there were three or four key plays by the defense today that could have made it very easy for us to win a 1-0 game.”
Delaney’s start rounded out a quality series for USF’s starting rotation.
Senior right-hander Danny Otero earned his eighth win of the season Friday in the Bulls’ 4-2 victory over the Pirates. In nine innings, Otero allowed seven hits and two runs. The senior also recorded five strikeouts in the contest, increasing his season total to a team-high 81.
In Saturday’s 8-2 win, USF starter Shawn Sanford recorded a Bulls’ season-high 11 strikeouts. The freshman right-hander improved his record to 2-4 on the year, allowing only two hits and one run in seven innings of work. The majority of USF’s runs in the contest came in the seventh inning, when RBI singles by Maruszak and Ty Taborelli and a RBI triple by Joey Angelberger accounted for five runs.
The series against Seton Hall was USF’s last road trip of the regular season. The Bulls will return to Tampa to face Stetson on Tuesday before closing out the regular season with a three-game series at home against St. John’s this weekend. After losing six of their last eight games, the Bulls know they must finish the season strong if they hope to have a successful post-season.
“We know that we have to be able to pick it up here in the last week,” Delaney said. “We all know what’s at stake here, but I think we’re all very confident that we’re going to be able to get into the conference tournament, and we’ll be able to be successful as long as all the aspects of our game are working. It’s very important for everyone to step their game up and really come through in the clutch when we need them to.”