Sophomore designated hitter Jimmy Falla was already one of USF’s hottest hitters going into Wednesday’s game, but he only got hotter.
Falla blasted two home runs to left-center field, driving in four runs in all, as the hard-hitting Bulls cruised past Jacksonville University 9-4.
The right-hander led off the third inning with a solo home run before driving in all three runs USF would score in the sixth inning.
The Bulls (13-15, 3-3) also benefited from a two-run home run from shortstop Sam Mende in the top of the first inning. USF’s offense posted two runs in each of the first three innings. Mende reached base safely four times, despite only recording three at-bats. He reached first on an error in the fourth inning and drew a walk in the seventh.
Freshman pitcher Nick Gonzalez got the start, but struggled before being pulled after only 2.2 inning of work. Gonzalez conceded five hits, four earned runs and walked four Dolphins.
With USF needing strong innings, the bullpen delivered. Four relievers combined to finish the game without allowing another JU run.
Senior right-handed pitcher Zach Pietrzyk inherited two base runners in the third inning, but got out of the jam. Pietrzyk was credited with the win, pitching 3.1 innings in total, allowing just one hit and one walk.
Juniors Andrew Loynaz and Jimmy Moran worked the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Loynaz allowed a hit and a walk, but forced JU catcher Alex Swenson to ground into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. Moran struck out back-to-back batters looking in his perfect inning.
Senior closer Kevin Quackenbush came in to work a perfect ninth, despite it not being a save situation.
The Bulls will return home to host a three-game series against Rutgers at the USF Baseball Stadium beginning Friday, with the first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. The series will resume Saturday at 7 p.m. before the Sunday finale at 1 p.m.