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Bulls seek sweep of Dolphins

USF baseball is looking to sweep a three-game series Tuesday in Jacksonville after defeating the Dolphins twice at Red McEwen Field.

Junior pitcher Travis Rios will start, one day after David Austen was named Conference USA Pitcher of the Week for his performance vs. Jacksonville Sunday.

Rios relieved Austen after 4 1/3 innings in the Bulls’ season opener against Oklahoma State. Rios posted good numbers, striking out four and allowing two hits, while surrendering one run in 3 1/3 innings.

USF played the Dolphins twice in Jacksonville last year, winning both games before coming back home to drop a game to JU in the 10th inning. The Bulls will try to pick up that third game this time around using the momentum they have acquired.

“Both games really help you from a confidence standpoint and the fact that we already won two out of three in the series,” USF coach Eddie Cardieri said. “We got two of out three.

“Now, we’re going for the sweep.”

That momentum started Saturday when the Bulls beat the Dolphins 7-6. Jon Uhl was the starting pitcher, recording seven strikeouts and giving up four runs.

The most productive player on the field Saturday was Jeff Baisley, who had three hits, two runs and an RBI. As effective as Baisley was Saturday, he went hitless Sunday in four at-bats.

Even though Baisley had a rough day, other players stepped up to supply the offense. USF got a home run each from first baseman Ronnie Handley and right fielder Bryan Hierlmeier.

The real star of Sunday’s game, however, was Austen, who in 7 2/3 innings struck out eight Dolphins and allowed two hits, both of which came in the first inning. Those stats earned Austen C-USA Pitcher of the Week Monday.

“That’s what he does day in and day out,” said Cardieri. “He knows what kind of pitcher he is.”

The Bulls will try to advance their record to 4-1 when they play today in Jacksonville at 3:30.

The Bulls will be back at Red McEwen Field 7 p.m. Friday, opening a three-game series against Southern Illinois.