After sweep, Bulls finding their rhythm
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 00:03
Though the USF baseball team’s weekend sweep of Georgetown may have been over a team picked to finish last, it hints at better things for the Bulls.
In the series, which began Big East play, the Bulls (17-8, 3-0) displayed traits they hadn’t shown since much earlier in the season. Consistent offense, dominant pitching and the ability to close out a series and win all three games had been missing for the Bulls for the larger part of March. They had not swept a series since their three-game sweep of Savannah State at the beginning of the month, despite a relatively easy non-conference schedule.
After a quick three-game winning streak in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge to start the season, the Bulls opened their home stadium by losing three of four games to North Florida and Bethune-Cookman, followed up by a 12-1 thumping by UCF in Orlando. In 10 days, USF lost control, going from 3-0 to 4-4.
It looked like the Bulls had finally gained momentum when they swept Savannah State, scoring 34 runs in the three games — including five home runs. But after the series, the Bulls returned to their inconsistent ways, failing to sweep over-matched opponents like Jacksonville, Illinois State and Lafayette.
Having won, but not swept, three consecutive series, USF’s inability to close out a set was the main concern for the team entering conference play, followed closely by their offense, which was only consistent in its inconsistency. USF’s lineup could go from an eight-run explosion on one night to just two runs the next night against the same team, which they did in their series split with Jacksonville.
Another loss to UCF on March 20, this time at home, was not the confidence builder the Bulls were looking for, but USF responded with arguably its best series of the season.
Against Georgetown, the Bulls finally clicked on both offense and defense, and it showed on the scoreboard. For the first time this season, the Bulls scored six or more runs in all three games of a series. USF also allowed two or fewer runs in all three games of a series for the first time this season.
Along with their surprising consistency, the Bulls managed to close out a series sweep, after falling flat in the final game of the series against both Jacksonville and Lafayette.
The Bulls can only hope that the Georgetown sweep helped them find the consistent offense and defense that will give them success in the second half of the season.
The Bulls get a break from Big East action tonight, when they square off against Florida A&M at 5, after which they will return to conference play with a weekend series at home against Notre Dame beginning Friday.