At a time when the Bulls needed a win more than ever, losing eight of their last 10 games, senior pitcher Michael Clarkson delivered a career-best performance in USF’s 6-2 win over Bethune Cookman on Tuesday night at the USF Baseball Stadium.
Clarkson set a career high with seven innings pitched and seven strikeouts on his way to his first win of the season and only USF’s third win in the past 12 games.
“We’re continuing to work on the process, we’re continuing to work on the culture,” USF coach Mark Kingston said. “I think we’re moving in the right direction, I really do. It doesn’t always show up every single day, but right now I feel good about the direction we’re in.”
Coming off a series loss to UCF in which the Bulls dropped the final two games, the offense bounced back with help from freshmen Chris Chatfield and Joe Genord. Both players had two hits and two RBIs on the night.
Clarkson, who entered the night tied with the second-most walks on the team, had a strong command of his pitches Tuesday night, walking one batter and scattering six hits over his seven innings of work.
“He had everything, his off-speed stuff especially,” Kingston said. “He threw for strikes, but he carried his velocity much longer than he usually does into his last inning. He was very good tonight, he was exactly what we needed.”
The bullpen duo of freshman Andrew Perez and junior Tommy Eveld continued their trend of finishing games, keeping the base paths clean over the final two innings.
USF (18-19, 3-6) will look to add some conference wins to its record when it travels to play Houston beginning this Friday.
“We had a complete game, we made no errors, we had double digit hits and we pitched well,” Kingston said. “That’s what it’s going to take. We’re playing a great ball club in Houston, so it’s going to take everything we’ve got, there’s no doubt about that.”