Bulls give Cardieri 700th win

With the help of junior Travis Brown and a slew of home runs, USF baseball swept the Billikens this weekend at Saint Louis, earning USF coach Eddie Cardieri his 700th win.

In the three games, the Bulls hit five balls out of the park. The biggest contributor was Brown, who had two home runs on the weekend, one in Friday’s game and one in Saturday’s.

The Bulls blasted the ball out of the park with ease, and Cardieri said it was a combination of factors that led to the hit-fest this weekend.

“We hit the ball squarely and had the right trajectory,” Cardieri said. “There were some short alleys and a short breeze.”

Brown not only hit home runs this weekend, but he also had seven hits in 13 at-bats, four RBI and five runs scored. Saturday, he was moved from ninth to seventh in the lineup, where he flourished with four hits in five at-bats, driving in two runs and scoring three times.

“What a day, what a week,” Cardieri said. “He’s a guy that has been in the program long enough to understand the philosophy, and he’s using every time out, whether it is in the cage or in batting practice. He’s having a lot of success.”

The Billikens (11-18, 3-12 C-USA) stayed close to the Bulls in all of the games, making USF pull away in late innings.

Friday’s 11-8 win saw the Bulls with only a one-run lead going into the seventh inning. Saturday’s game was not as close.

The Bulls pulled away from Saint Louis in the fourth, eventually winning the game 9-3.

Sunday’s game was the closest of the series, as the Bulls scored a run in the eighth inning to break a tie and beat the Billikens 3-2.

Sunday’s victory was Cardieri’s 700th in 18 seasons as head coach of the Bulls. The accomplishment was the farthest thing from his mind Sunday night.

“I didn’t even know until my brother called to congratulate me,” Cardieri said.

With the sweep this weekend, the Bulls now have a 24-12 record, 8-5 in Conference USA. With three more wins added to their C-USA record, USF moved up to fourth in the standings, three games behind conference leader Southern Miss and two games behind East Carolina and TCU.

USF has a midweek contest Tuesday at UCF before resuming conference play with a three-game set against Cincinnati starting Friday at Red McEwen Field at 7 p.m.

Chris Wagenheim covers USF baseball and can be reached at oraclewags@yahoo.com