South Florida baseball returned from its cross-state trip with two things it didn’t have when it left – notches in the win column. The Bulls took two games from Jacksonville University, winning 6-1 on Saturday and 12-4 Sunday.
After two disappointing losses in their opening series against Stetson last weekend, the Bulls traveled to Daytona Friday to face Bethune-Cookman College before making the trip a little farther up I-95 to Jacksonville for a two-game series against the Jacksonville Dolphins.
However, the search for that elusive first win would not be found against BCC, as the Bulls fell to 0-3 on the season. A solid display of pitching by both teams ended 3-2 in the 13th inning when BCC’s Bryan Maples hit a walk-off home run.
Through nine innings the game was scoreless, with Jason Bartz and David Austen leading the Bulls’ pitching staff. Mike Choquette (0-1) would eventually receive the loss in relief.
Saturday’s win against Jacksonville was another solid pitching performance from veteran starter John Gorham, who pitched a complete game in the Bulls’ 6-1 win.
“John Gorham was a warrior. He was unbelievable in throwing a complete game in his first start,” USF coach Eddie Cardieri said. “It was a vintage John Gorham game. Strikes with three pitches and control. He was very good.”
The Bulls’ offense was led by home runs from Devin Ivany, Scott Rachlin and Mike Barclay. Barclay went 2-4 on the day with two RBIs and two runs scored. Mike Macaluso hit a double to center field in the top of the third, driving home Ivany for the game’s first run. Myron Leslie was hit by the pitcher for the fourth time in two ballgames.
Sunday’s game again showed the strength of the Bulls’ bats, as Barclay, Ivany and Macaluso led to a 12-4 win against the Dolphins.
“Jacksonville had one of those games where they kicked it around and made five or six errors,” Cardieri said. “We capitalized every time they made an error.”
Barclay led South Florida’s hitting, going 3-4 with a double (one of four Bulls batters with doubles in the game) and three RBIs. Macaluso was 2-4 on the day with four RBIs. Third baseman Jeff Baisley had a two-run home run in the eighth.
Jon Uhl (1-1) earned his first win of the season, pitching six innings and allowing only four hits. A grand slam by Jacksonville’s left fielder Chad Oliva in the fifth was Uhl’s only pitching mistake of the day.
“The wind was blowing out of here in gale force and for Jon Uhl to pitch as well as he did, it was just a great start,” Cardieri said. “He basically made one mistake in which they got four runs on one swing, but he pitched extremely well considering the conditions.”