NOTEBOOK: Bulls complete sweep of Western Michigan

By Brian Hattab, Assistant Sports Editor
On March 3, 2019

Austin Bodrato (42) drove in the game-winning run on a bases-loaded hit by pitch Sunday against Western Michigan. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/JOSÉE WOBLE

A bases-loaded walk-off hit batter gave USF its first series sweep of the season Sunday against Western Michigan at the USF Baseball Stadium.

Austin Bodrato was hit by a 1-0 pitch, driving home Brandon Schrepf in the bottom of the ninth to give USF a 10-9 win.

The Bulls’ two-run rally — Jake Sullivan hit an RBI single prior to Bodrato’s hit by pitch — in the bottom of the ninth followed a four-run inning from Western Michigan in the top half of the inning — which followed a four-run inning by USF in the bottom of the eighth.

“A win’s a win,” coach Billy Mohl said. “Offense kind of sparked us all weekend long. They battled — didn’t give up.”

Baron Stuart made the first weekend start of his career, allowing five runs on five hits over four innings. Nelson Alvarez, who recorded the save Friday and the win Saturday, picked up Sunday’s win despite allowing two of the Broncos’ four runs in the ninth.

“I was disappointed in the start from our starter,” Mohl said. “And I felt bad for Nelson out there late in the game three days in a row. He just didn’t have his best stuff, which was to be expected.”

Despite the pitching struggles, USF’s offense combined for 26 runs on the weekend, a far cry from its performance the prior weekend against No. 5 North Carolina where the Bulls only scored a total of six runs.

“Obviously, the arms we faced last weekend, they could shut down anybody in the country,” Mohl said. “So to go against these guys, and the to bats wake up,  and to see the production that we had — that was very encouraging.”

Up next for the Bulls is an exhibition against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday in Port Charlotte.

“This is more of an experience-type deal for our guys on Tuesday,” Mohl said. “We’re going to get some new guys on the field, get them some experience and we’re looking forward to the opportunity.”

Corrick strikes-out career high against Western Michigan

Georgina Corrick set another career high in strikeouts Sunday, striking out 14 in USF softball’s 5-3 victory against Western Michigan at the USF Softball Stadium.

Corrick’s performance was the third time in a week the sophomore hit double-digit strikeouts, recording 12 against FGCU on Wednesday and 10 against Ball State on Friday.

“It’s super exciting,” Corrick said. “I know I’ve hit 12 a couple of times, so it’s nice to finally push over that edge to set kind of a new record for me to beat.”

Defense highlighted the game for the Bulls, including an impressive diving catch by AnaMarie Bruni to begin the second inning.

“We get excited on great plays, and Ana — she’s probably one of the better centerfielders that we’ve had, there’s no question about it — we see that every day from her at practice, so does it become you’re immune to how great the play is?” coach Ken Eriksen said. “It’s like, ‘Yeah, OK, that’s Bruni, she does that.’ But my goodness … that takes a single away right away — stops an inning from happening.”

After falling behind by two runs in the first inning, USF put up five runs combined in the third and fourth to take a lead it never surrendered. Bethaney Keen and Meghan Sheehan each had two RBIs in the third and fourth inning respectively.

Up next for the Bulls is a doubleheader Wednesday at the USF Softball Stadium. Game 1 is against Central Michigan at 4 p.m. and Game 2 is against Furman at 6 p.m.

Bulls fall short in final minute against UConn

Despite leading with less than a minute left, USF men’s basketball fell 60-58 to UConn on Sunday in Storrs, Connecticut.

Sophomore guard David Collins made two free throws to give the Bulls a one-point lead with 1:04 remaining, but UConn answered 16 seconds later and made five free throws in the final minute of the game.

Overall, UConn was 20-of-27 from the free-throw line.

"We've just got to keep at it. We've got to keep getting better and finish those plays around the basket. They hurt us getting to the free throw line in that second half,” coach Brian Gregory said in a statement.

The Bulls went the final 6:10 of the game without a field goal, but were able to stay in the game thanks to a 77-percent effort from the free-throw line.

“We had some good looks. We had a good pull-up and had a couple shots around the basket, but we had a couple costly turnovers as well during that stretch,” Gregory said.

Up next for USF is its final road game of the regular season. The Bulls travel to New Orleans to face Tulane on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN3.

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