After its first 10 games, South Florida baseball will host its first three-game weekend series Friday to Sunday against Massachusetts. These will be UMass’s first games of the season.
“There is no substitution for playing games,” USF coach Eddie Cardieri said.
The Bulls are coming off a 26-14 win against Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday. The Bulls’ first home win was earned after 24 hits against BCC’s pitchers. However, the Bulls were forced to go through seven pitchers in the four-hour game against the Wildcats.
After the BCC game, pitching coach Nelson North had an extended meeting with the Bulls’ pitching staff where, according to Cardieri, the Bulls’ coach took responsibility for not telling the staff what to do against a tight strike zone, like the one umpires had against the Wildcats.
“(North) took responsibility because he had never told the staff about what you do when the guy has a tight zone like that,” Cardieri said. “Because all of a sudden (our pitchers) were throwing pitches that (they) thought were strikes, and that’s where you were taught to throw them, and all of a sudden, (the umpire) starts balling them because the zone was so tight.”
In the high scoring tÃ©te-a-tÃ©te on Tuesday, Bulls pitching walked a team- record 18 batters. Cardieri said the team’s pitching philosophy is to jump ahead of the batters, a philosophy the pitching staff will look to attain in this weekend’s series against the Minutemen.
“Our whole thing is we want them 0-1 on everybody,” Cardieri said. “Because hitters hit .190 when they are 0-1 on the count. We didn’t do anything differently against Bethune. It was just a different count than what we’ve been used to.
“I think it was more in pitchers’ heads than it was in their mechanics.”
The Bulls will host Massachusetts Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Red McEwen Field.
- Jarrett Guthrie covers baseball and can be reached at email@example.com