The pitching on both sides led to the defeat of the USF baseball team Tuesday night when it played UCF in Orlando. USF lost to the Golden Knights 10-6, missing out on a season sweep after defeating UCF twice this season.
Sophomore pitcher Matt Fox did not allow a run against the Bulls until the top of the seventh inning. Controlled pitching by the right-hander forced the Bulls to make bad swings, keeping them off the board for the majority of the game.
“(Fox) was really good tonight,” Cardieri said. “Good pitching makes you swing at bad pitches.”
USF pitching did not do much to compensate for the six-inning shutout that the Bulls endured. The Bulls used six pitchers in seven innings, and none of them could find a groove. Those five pitchers allowed 10 runs off 13 hits while only striking out three UCF batters.
“Our pitchers elevated the ball in the strike zone,” Cardieri said. “They did not throw quality low pitches.”
Making his first start for the Bulls, sophomore Matt Ingram in two innings allowed two runs off three hits while only striking out one batter. Ingram, however, fared better than his reliever, junior Mike Yeager, who allowed four runs off four hits in two innings. Before Tuesday’s game, Yeager had made nine appearances this season, pitching a total of 12 1/3 innings.
The Golden Knights put away the Bulls slowly, compiling a 10-run lead by the bottom of the sixth inning. The Bulls tried to scratch their way back in the top of the seventh, and it seemed like they had a chance when Scott Rachlin blasted the ball over the right-field fence, driving in three runs. Jermaine Smith hit in Kris Howell with a line-drive double before Mike Cunningham struck out swinging to end the inning. The Bulls went on to score two more runs in the eighth inning, but were stopped in the ninth.
“We had some big hits, but it was too little too late,” Cardieri said.
The Bulls split the three game series with UCF 2-1, winning the first two games at Red McEwen Field. USF has a Conference USA series against the Cincinnati Bearcats this weekend in Tampa.
Chris Wagenheim covers USF baseball and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org