The Bulls continued their dominance of the AAC this weekend as they defeated East Carolina in the first two games of the series, but were shutout 6-0 in the series finale Sunday at the USF Baseball Stadium.
Outside of senior shortstop Kyle Teaf, who went 3-for-5, USF (24-12-1, 7-2) was able to muster only two hits. The Bulls’ lackluster offense resulted in stranding 10 men on base.
Starter Joe Cavallaro (3-1) held the Pirates (21-15, 4-5) scoreless through four innings, but allowed three runs to score in the fifth and was subsequently pulled from the game. Michael Farley and Ryan Valdes relieved Cavallaro, allowing three runs over the final 4 1/3 innings.
Cavallaro was defeated by four Pirates pitchers who struck out more batters (11) than hitters they allowed to reach base (10).
ECU pitcher Nick Durazo, who has a 0.39 ERA, struck out five of the 12 batters he faced and gave up only two hits in three innings.
The Bulls faced similar offensive issues in Game 1, as their only two runs came from a Luke Maglich homer that was launched over the right-field wall and bounced off the top of the batting cages.
Despite only scoring two runs, USF had the good fortune of having ace Jimmy Herget (6-1) on the mound. The Bulls’ No. 1 pitcher allowed one run on seven hits over eight innings and struck out nine.
USF found its offensive groove Saturday as it put 10 runs on the board in a shutout in Game 2. Catcher Levi Borders led the way with six RBIs and another USF starter went eight innings deep as Casey Mulholland (4-4) held the Pirates to seven hits and struck out 10.
After taking two of three from ECU, USF remains in first place in the AAC. The Bulls hold a 1.5 game lead over the Huskies, from whom they took two of three earlier this month.
USF will host Stetson (19-18) on Tuesday night at 6:30 before traveling to Memphis to play the Tigers, who currently sit in third in the AAC, two games behind the Bulls.