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USF drops two of three

After losing two straight games in the bottom half of the final inning, the USF baseball team stopped the bleeding with an extra-inning win to close out its first road trip of the season.

Coach Eddie Cardieri said Sunday’s win against Jacksonville was absolutely a big win after his team lost its first two road games.

“We lost (the first two games) when last on the field,” Cardieri said. “And that is extremely tough.”

He said after his relievers struggled in the first two games freshmen Casey Hudspeth and Chase Lirette, who combined for 18 strikeouts in 10 innings, impressed him.

Sunday, the Bulls pulled out a 5-4 win over Jacksonville in 10 innings. Lirette struck out the side in the final inning to prevent a third straight loss. At the top of that inning, Brian Baisley blasted his second home run of the year for the game-winning run.

“We won on the road, and in extra innings,” Cardieri said. “We needed a win.”

On Friday, the Bulls traveled to Daytona Beach to play Bethune-Cookman, which was reeling after a 0-7 start. But Cardieri said he warned his team that they were dangerous, and he was right.

USF entered the bottom of the ninth with a 9-4 lead and seemed like it would get its fifth win of the season. But after reliever Daniel Albritton loaded the bases, Joey Livingston came in and blew the six-run lead, giving USF its first loss of the season.

Saturday, it could have been Jacksonville’s relievers who stole the game when they walked in a run in the top of the 12th.

But in the bottom of that inning Matt Ingram gave up a lead-off single before a walk-off two-run home run in a game Cardieri said the Bulls had “chances to win.”

The Bulls scored 19 runs in the three games during the weekend, less than the average nine runs per game they were scoring heading into the weekend. In addition to Baisley’s second home run, Matt McHargue hit his team-leading third homer of the season, while preseason all-conference selection Devin Ivany hit his first home run of the season.