Though their hot start has them tied for first place in the conference, the Bulls still havent proven their ability to win outside of Big East opponents.
USF failed to beat an in-state rival once again Tuesday night in a 6-4 loss to Stetson in DeLand, their second loss against the Hatters. With the loss, the Bulls record against in-state opponents dropped to a paltry 3-8 on the season, a polar opposite of their 8-1 start in Big East play.
Matt Reed got the start for USF (23-11, 8-1) and pitched six strong innings, allowing just three hits and two earned runs before he gave way to Steven Leasure. Ray Delphey came in with two baserunners on and two outs in the eighth inning and promptly gave up three straight singles to give Stetson the win.
After the Hatters took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a fielding error by shortstop Kyle Teaf, the USF offense got to work in the third inning with a two-out rally. Though Chad Taylor and James Ramsay came through with singles to take the 2-1 lead after Teaf reached second on a throwing error, Stetson again took control with a two-run home run in the fourth inning. But, the Bulls regained the lead in the seventh.
Another Stetson error scored Jimmy Falla off a sacrifice bunt by Zac Gilcrease. Teaf then brought the freshman around to score on a single, giving USF a 4-3 lead, which held up until the bottom of the eighth.
The Bulls return to conference play with a weekend series against Pittsburgh (15-15, 2-7), which is just one spot ahead of Cincinnati in the Big Easts basement. The series will begin Friday at 6:30 p.m.