Bulls lose on play at plate

Tuesday night was filled with drama. But for the Bulls, it wasn’t the good kind.

Down 10-8 against Florida Gulf Coast in the bottom of the ninth with two outs at Red McEwen Field, USF left fielder Junior Carlin hit a shot down the third base line scoring one of two runners on base and setting up a close play at home, where freshman Jimmy Falla was called out to seal the loss.

“We kept battling and just didn’t come out on top,” said junior right fielder Stephen Hunt, who was 2-for-5 with three RBI in the game. “It was a tough one to swallow, with a guy getting thrown out at the plate like that.”

The Bulls dug themselves a hole early, falling behind 1-0 in the first inning. But they responded with a six-run second that started with a leadoff double by sophomore first baseman Todd Brazeal. Carlin then homered over the left field wall for the second time in as many games.

“That’s a big surprise for me. I still can’t believe I did that,” said Carlin, who has a 10-game hitting streak. “The wind helped.”

Hunt then added to the lead in the fourth with a two-RBI double. He has multiple RBI in eight games and 17 multi-hit games this season – both team highs.

But sophomore starter Matt Reed struggled, yielding four earned runs in two innings pitched. Kyle Eastham relieved him in third before any outs were recorded and four runs were scored in the inning.

Florida Gulf Coast tacked on another five runs over the next six innings to take the lead back.

“We pitched terrible,” said coach Lelo Prado. “It’s another one-run loss. We can’t continue this.”

USF sent four pitchers to the mound, while the Eagles used eight total.

“We had opportunities in the game where we could have taken the lead or gotten more runs,” Carlin said. “It’s frustrating for everyone. When both of us click (pitching and offense), we’ll be really good.”

USF (19-22) plays Miami in Coral Gables tonight for the second time this season. The Bulls were blown out 15-2 in the first meeting. Miami (30-11) has won 10 straight home games.

“We’re erasing that game from our head,” Carlin said of the Hurricanes’ victory. “They’re just another opponent, and we want to beat them.”

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