South Florida beat Jacksonville 9-6 Tuesday to sweep a three-game series that ended on the Dolphins’ home field.
The Bulls secured the road win with solid hitting to improve their record to 4-1.
“[The sweep] gets us off to a good start. I think it helps with the team’s confidence,” USF coach Eddie Cardieri said.
The Bulls had production from their hitting as eight players combined to get 14 hits in 38 at-bats.
Left fielder Travis Brown had a solid game with three hits and two RBI.
“I think the middle of our lineup is going to do a lot this year,” USF catcher Devin Ivany said. “We have some good hitters in there. The leadoff guys and the eight holes and nine holes get on base and will do the job.”
Although Brown did well at the plate, it was Ivany who stole the show, going 4-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored.
“He had a heck of a ballgame for us, but there wasn’t a guy on the field that didn’t play well today,” Cardieri said.
Sophomore Jeff Baisley picked up the pace with one run, one hit and two RBI, an improvement from Sunday’s game when he drove in two runs.
The Bulls went deep into their pitching staff, using five arms. Travis Rios went four innings with four strike outs, also allowing four hits and three runs while walking three Dolphins.
“He pitched good, he didn’t have his stuff, but he pitched good with the stuff he had,” said Cardieri.
Other pitchers for the Bulls included freshman Chris Delaney, who threw 1 2/3 innings, giving up three hits and three runs.
Sophomore Matt Ingram, junior Tim Mattison and junior Joey Livingston finished the last 3 1/3 innings without giving up a run or hit, keeping the Dolphins from mounting a comeback.
“Ingram was very good. Mattison came in and got a double-play ball to get us out of the inning, and Livingston put three up and three down to get a save, so it was really pretty good considering Jacksonville is a very good hitting team,” said Cardieri.
JU is 1-4 this season and had to cancel its first two games against Navy because of weather and travel issues.
“I told our guys that at the end of the season, Jacksonville will be in the thick of it,” USF coach Cardieri said.
“That’s a very good club. I think they lost a little continuity when they had some rainouts, and they just haven’t gotten it going, but they have very good personnel, good pitching and they’re going to be all right.”
Last year USF was 2-3 after five games, losing its first two games at home to Stetson, then traveling on the road and losing to Bethune-Cookman in the 13th inning.
The Bulls come home for a three-game series against Southern Illinois that starts Friday at 7 p.m.
Chris Wagenheim covers baseball and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org