Winning close games is a trait which typically separates good teams from great ones.
The beginning of USF’s 12-game winning streak consisted of a good deal of big wins by the Bulls, but every game in the series at UConn was won by three runs or less.
This is could be good sign for the Bulls, who are heading in a promising direction after taking over first place in the Big East this past weekend.
USF (26-14, 10-2) swept UConn (23-16, 8-7) in three games this past weekend and only had a run differential of five.
The key reason the Bulls won all three of these close games against the Huskies was the performance of its bullpen.
Over the entire series, Bulls bullpen pitchers gave up only two runs in 12 2/3 innings. While the Huskies were unable to score late in the games against the Bulls, USF’s offense was afforded plenty of time to manufacture a lead.
The game in which the bullpen came through the most was the Saturday game. The Bulls took the game into extra innings due to clutch hits from senior Jimmy Falla, senior Kyle Copack and junior Anthony Diaz.
The rally by the Bulls would have been useless if the bullpen wasn’t able to hold off the Huskies for six extra innings. The Bulls broke through with three runs in the 15 inning, completing an unlikely comeback win to extend their streak to a then 11 game mark.
The sweep of UConn will likely propel the No. 28 Bulls to a higher ranking on Monday morning. Even if the Bulls don’t jump up many ranking spots this week, a game against the University of Florida on Tuesday will give the team another chance to prove themselves.
USF now stands alone in first place, surpassing Louisville over the weekend and holding off Pittsburgh. The Bulls have a 10-2 conference record and plays a three game set against St. John’s this week, who is 7-8 in Big East games this year. Tuesday’s game at Gainesville takes place at 6:30 p.m.