Although the USF baseball team was eager to get back on the field for the season opener, it dropped three consecutive games to Florida Gulf Coast over the weekend.
The series featured a doubleheader at home Saturday in the USF Baseball Stadium and a single game played away at Alico Arena in Fort Myers.
Many issues presented themselves to the Bulls (0-3), but pitching, on-field errors and failing to capitalize on opportunities appeared to be among the most glaring.
USF gave up 27 runs, committed five errors and left 40 runners on base.
Not all was bad for the Bulls, however, as the pitching of redshirt freshman Jack Jasiak was a silver lining in the sweep.
The first game Saturday went into extra innings as Jasiak went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three hits with five strikeouts before being pulled in the seventh.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the 10th, when FGCU (3-0) scored four runs, including one on an error. The Bulls attempted to rally in the bottom of the inning, but only mustered one run.
Freshman outfielder Matt Ruiz, who started at third base and eventually moved to left field, made his college baseball debut for the Bulls. Ruiz went 3-for-5 with two stolen bases.
Games 2 and 3 Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, respectively, showcased much more of the offensive firepower both squads boast. The final score of the second game was 11-6, and the series finale ended in a 12-10 Bulls loss.
Junior pitcher Brad Lord started Game 2 for USF and gave up five runs through 3 2/3 innings.
The Bulls went into the bottom of the ninth down 11-2, but went down swinging. The team scored four runs in the final inning, but ultimately fell short.
Sunday, almost everything was going well early for the Bulls as freshman Drew Brutcher’s first collegiate home run put them up 7-0 in the top of the fourth inning. However, the course of the game quickly took a turn when FGCU responded with five runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The Bulls have a variety of pitchers on staff, ranging from freshmen to redshirt seniors, but a lack of in-game activity for some pitchers regardless of experience in the past year could be a reason for the early-season troubles. Coach Billy Mohl and his team will look to iron those issues out as the season moves along.
Next up for the Bulls is a four-game series against Florida A&M beginning with a doubleheader Feb. 26 starting at 1 p.m.
All four games against Florida A&M will be televised on ESPN+.