For the second time this season, the Bulls hosted the ranked FIU team Tuesday night. While the Panthers fell 11 spots to rank No. 30 this time, the outcome wasn’t much different from the 8-2 loss USF took two weeks ago.
This time around, USF (15-9) fell 9-0 to FIU as the Panthers (21-4) outhit the struggling Bulls offense 16-4 in Tuesday’s matchup at the USF Baseball Stadium. At their first meeting, the Bulls were outhit 18-5.
USF starter Brandon Lawson (2-1) lasted just one inning, surrendering six runs (two earned) on four hits. Due to an arm injury, this was his first appearance since March 1, when he allowed one run on two hits in seven innings against Columbia.
Six pitchers then relieved, giving up three runs (two earned) on nine hits combined.
“Lawson didn’t compete on the mound,” USF coach Lelo Prado said. “(Brandon) Murray didn’t either. Then you get a guy like Cody Hernandez that goes in there throwing 74 miles per hour and competing – that’s what I want to see. I want to see guys compete.”
Murray came in for Lawson with the bases loaded and no outs in the second. He gave up one unearned run on two hits, walking two in his 2/3 innings.
The Panthers produced a
seven-run second inning, capitalizing on USF’s poor pitching and two errors. It was a five-run seventh inning that put the Panthers ahead last time.
FIU leadoff hitter Tyler Hibbert went 3-for-3 with two runs, a walk and an RBI. Four other Panthers drove in runs, including cleanup hitter Josh Anderson, who had three RBIs, going 2-for-6 with a double off the arm of Josh Walker in the fifth.
The Panthers were kept scoreless thereafter as Hernandez entered in the sixth and pitched three scoreless innings, keeping his ERA at 0.00 through nine total innings of relief.
Mike Ellis (4-2) earned the win for the Panthers, allowing three hits in four innings. Three relievers kept the Bulls scoreless thereafter.
“I give their pitcher credit,” Prado said. “We’re just not very good offensively right now.”
Much like Sunday’s 4-2 loss against UConn, the Bulls couldn’t spark their offense, going
4-for-28. USF went 3-for-31 against the Huskies on Sunday after winning the first two of the series.
“You got to move forward,” Prado said. “Get two good days of practice and get ready to go. I promise you they will be ready.”
Jimmy Herget (3-3), who was named to the AAC Honor Roll after taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning Friday against UConn, is scheduled to start Friday night at 6:30 in Cincinnati.