Bulls going for sixth straight
South Florida baseball is taking a five-game winning streak into this weekend’s series against TCU. It is the longest winning streak that the Bulls have had since 1999. USF coach Eddie Cardieri said he doesn’t put much stock in the momentum of such a streak.
“We’ve had a stretch where we’ve been playing pretty good,” Cardieri said. “Nothing great, just pretty good. We go out and play a good game of baseball, we’ve got a great chance to win.”
But the Bulls certainly have a bit of thrust behind them as they look to continue the climb up the Conference USA standings. USF started the season in February going 4-6 and have since gone 14-5 in an early season turnaround. The Bulls are leading the conference in batting with a .323 team batting average. However, the next closest team is TCU with a .310 average.
“We’re playing a lot more like I thought we could play,” Cardieri said. “We started swinging the bat to the point that we are leading C-USA by 10 points. And that’s huge when you’re talking about team batting average.”
On the hitting front, the Bulls have seen a spark in the batting of Mike Cunningham, who has retaken the lead-off. Cunningham, who started the season with a slump in the first spot, has gone 12-for-22 in the Bulls’ last five wins.
“(His performance) has been outstanding,” Cardieri said. “The first two games we tried him at lead off, and he went 0-10. There’s been no difference. We just told him to be Mike Cunningham and don’t do anything differently and the result will be good. And they sure have been.”
TCU enters the series leading the conference in fielding percentage.
“TCU is a good ballclub,” Cardieri said. “This is the team that is leading the conference in fielding. They catch everything and make good plays and know where to throw it. They aren’t going to beat themselves.”
South Florida will host TCU at Red McEwen Field. TCU and South Florida are two of the five teams tied for second place in the C-USA standings along with Louisville, Southern Miss and Charlotte. Friday’s starter will be senior right-hander John Gorham, and the game will start at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s games will be at 1 p.m., with senior right-hander Jason Bartz and junior left-hander Ryan Gloger pitching, respectively.
Jarrett Guthrie covers baseball and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org