Baseball is a game of numbers. Statistics are kept for batting average, slugging percentage, hitting streaks, fielding percentage – it can be a lot to handle. Tuesday was like that for the Bulls – a lot of handling.
There were two errors in the USF vs. Bethune-Cookman game Tuesday afternoon at Red McEwen Field. The second BCC batter hit a pop fly that was dropped by USF’s Scott Rachlin, and a bad relay throw from second baseman Mike Macaluso allowed the first Wildcat to cross the plate. No more errors from either squad, but enough runs to fill a three-game series ended with the Bulls’ first home win, 26-14. The Bulls are now 4-6 on the season.
“We’ll take them any way we can get them,” said USF coach Eddie Cardieri. “Our hitters picked up our pitching. I’m just glad that our hitters really used the philosophy and the approach that we teach, and I think today we started to see what we thought we could do swinging the bat.”
Twenty-four South Florida hits accounted for the 26 runs, as four USF batters got at least three hits in the four-hour game. Numbers overload, already?
As the score would indicate, pitching was neither team’s strong point. The Bulls’ pitchers set a dubious record by walking 18 batters, replacing the old record of 13 set against Jacksonville Feb. 13, 1999.
In all, seven pitchers took the mound for USF. Ryan Gloger made the start but left before the start of the third, so he did not receive the win. Keith Strickland (2-0) did, after relieving in the seventh.
“We have not pitched poorly all year, but we sure did today,” said Cardieri. “We shattered (the school walk record). I have no explanation. I don’t know where that came from.”
Bulls batters were explosive with Macaluso and Devin Ivany leading the herd, both going 4-for-5 on the day.
Ivany hit one of three three-run home runs by USF batters.
“Today (the ball) just happened to fly off of the bat pretty well,” Ivany said. “Lately, we’ve been working on adjusting to the pitching. We haven’t been doing that too well and new pitchers come in, and we’ve had a tough time adjusting to that.”
Rachlin and Ronnie Handley hit the other three-run bombs. Handley’s home run was a pinch hit for Kris Courier (2-for-3) in the seventh. In all USF had 15 different batters, including pitcher Mike Choquette, who is now batting 1.000 on the season, getting an eighth inning single and an RBI, in what is so far Bulls pitchers’ only plate appearance of the season.
“It’s good to see that our bats finally woke up,” Macaluso said. “Granted, the umpire’s zone was a little tight, but today all the hitters, if they got something good, they hit it. That’s been our approach all year, and finally everybody started doing it.”