If the Bulls want to win tonight, they might be hoping it isn’t a close game.
USF has struggled in games decided by one run – falling to 0-9 this season after an 8-7 loss to Rutgers on Friday – but it hopes to rebound against Stetson (20-18) in Deland tonight at 6:30, coming off a conference sweep.
“I think a lot of times we come out pretty strong and then it starts dying down a little bit,” said junior pitcher Andrew Barbosa, who is 4-2 on the season with a 2.55 ERA. “We have great talent. Our team just wasn’t locked in.”
The team is still battling injuries, as senior pitcher Teddy Kaufman (forearm) and senior center fielder Ryan Lockwood, sidelined by a calf injury, will continue to miss time. Left fielder Junior Carlin has also struggled with a sore hip.
However, freshman pitcher Ray Delphey may be on the verge of returning to the rotation in the next couple weeks. Delphey was 1-2 with a 4.40 ERA in four appearances before missing time with a shoulder injury.
“He should start throwing here soon,” Prado said.
Freshman Chad Taylor, who has seen playing time at second base this season, played in Lockwood’s absence. Taylor went 6-for-11 in the series with two runs scored and had at least one hit in each game over the weekend.
“He did a great job,” Prado said. “We have some injuries, so we stuck him out there and he played well.”
Sophomore Matt Reed, who has only pitched one inning this season, will likely take the mound against Stetson, with the Bulls looking to improve mid-week woes coming off the sweep.
Prado said USF, which plummeted from first to third in the Big East standings, should have won at least a game last weekend.
“When you get the opportunity to win a game, you have to take off and run with it,” he said. “When you get them down, you have to keep pounding them.”