The Bulls will enter the Conference USA baseball tournament this week as the seventh of eight seeds.
The tournament, being held in Kinston, N.C. and hosted by East Carolina, will be the decision-maker in the Bulls’ potential bid to the NCAA Regional Tournament. The season-ending series against UAB started with two decisively aggressive performances from both halves of the Bulls team.
Thursday night’s 7-2 victory, earned by Ryan Gloger, started the series off right, but it was Friday’s 16-2 shellacking that was the true highlight.
In that game, Jon Uhl pitched five hitless innings before leaving with a very comfortable lead. He did not return in the sixth when USF coach Eddie Cardieri decided he wanted his sophomore pitcher well rested for the upcoming tournament.
Saturday’s game was a little more on the disappointing side as the Bulls dropped the closing game 4-3 in 12 innings when a squeeze bunt allowed the winning run to cross the plate.
Cardieri was, however, excited as a whole about the weekend’s performance – both offensively and defensively, especially from his pitching.
“The whole staff pitched extremely well,” Cardieri said. “Everybody pitched well. We got Uhl out so he will be well rested. Bartz will be in position to start after getting about 50 pitches in. Gloger pitched pretty well. Hopefully, we can carry that into the tournament.”
An entire week of solid hitting from Mike Barclay led the Bulls’ offense. Barclay was 9-for-15 in four games this week with eight RBI. He had two home runs against UAB in the second game of the series.
The C-USA tournament will begin Monday with an awards ceremony. The games will begin Tuesday with the first game announced as top-seed Houston taking on No. 8 Saint Louis at 4 p.m.
The Bulls will face No. 2 Louisville on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m.
“I’m expecting to see a really good club,” Cardieri said. “They have great pitching. It’s a good news, bad news thing together though. The good news is we swept them this season, and it’s also kind of the bad news (because) sometimes it’s hard to win the fourth game against a team in a season.”