Having played 17 of its first 24 games this season in Tampa, the USF baseball team embarks on the first in a six-game road trip tonight in Jacksonville.
The Bulls (10-14, 1-2) face North Florida at Harmon Stadium at 7 p.m. before departing for a three-game set against Big East opponent Villanova in Plymouth Meeting, Penn., beginning Friday.
For the Bulls to ground the Ospreys (14-11, 6-6 Atlantic Sun), they will have to find a way to slow down UNF shortstop Sam Perry, who was named the Atlantic Sun Player of the Week on Monday.
Perry safely recorded a hit in all five games UNF played last week, including three multiple-hit and multiple-RBI games. Perry hit two home runs and a triple and drew five walks, all contributing to an on-base percentage of .750 for the week.
As a team, the Ospreys went 4-1, with all five games played at home. UNF split a midweek series with Florida International before completing a three-game sweep of Belmont. In the final two games of the Belmont series, UNF posted 22 and 17 runs, respectively, the eighth and ninth times this season that the team has scored 10 or more runs.
The Bulls have only reached 10 runs twice, in a 13-4 win over Florida A&M on March 5 and an 11-9 win over Bethune-Cookman on March 18.
USF is averaging 4.16 runs per game, a significant drop from the 6.19 runs it scored a year ago.
Perhaps part of the decline can be attributed to an offseason rule change made by the NCAA.
Further restrictions were placed on the aluminum bats players use in an attempt to reduce the velocity with which the ball comes off the bat, making the game safer for student-athletes.
Each of the six highest-ranked teams in the NCAA – Vanderbilt, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona State and Texas A&M – have seen their per-game run average drop from last year.
The game can be heard live on 1010 CBS Sports Radio with Ronan O’Shea.