USF starting pitcher Casey Hudspeth said he had a feeling before the game that the Bulls were going to beat No. 6 Miami. And he was right.
By the time Hudspeth exited the game in the top of the seventh, having given up only three hits, the USF baseball team had already built a 7-0 lead.
“It was exciting,” Hudspeth said. “There were a lot of fans. I was jacked before the game even started.”
The freshman struck out six with two walks in 7 2/3 innings for his third win of the season.
“For a freshman to go out there and do what he did was just beautiful,” USF coach Eddie Cardieri said. “We knew he could do that, and he knew he could do that and that’s what I think is important.”
The defense impressed Cardieri as well.
When second baseman Mike Macaluso slid to his right to field a chopper up the middle for the final out of the game, he made it look routine. It also might have looked routine compared to some of the plays his teammates made to hang on to the lead they held the entire game.
With New York Yankees third baseman and three-time Gold Glove award winner Alex Rodriguez watching from the Miami dugout, the Bulls dazzled the crowd of 1,521 fans with some stunning plays in the field.
Up 4-0 in the top of the seventh with two men on base, center fielder Jeremy Bellotti made a leaping catch at the wall to end a Hurricane threat.
“Our defense, please,” Cardieri said. “That was the most web gems I have ever seen in one game, seriously, ever in my career.”
And Joey Livingston came in to add the exclamation point to USF’s biggest win of the season. The save, the 29th of his career, broke USF’s all-time record.
He said the save was even more special coming against Miami.
“It definitely makes it that much more special against a team of that caliber,” Livingston said.
With Miami (15-4) threatening again in the eighth, with two runners on, Livingston was able to get the Bulls out of the jam.
“I’m very proud of Joey,” Cardieri said. “I’m happy for Joey for breaking that record. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy.”
USF scored a run in the first inning and a three-run fifth inning added to the lead. Bryan Hierlmeier started it off with a single, and Myron Leslie followed suit. Devin Ivany then tripled to score Hierlmeier and Leslie. Ivany would eventually score on a passed ball to make the score 4-0.
The Bulls (14-5) added to their lead in the bottom of the eighth, scoring three more runs. Travis Brown and Macaluso both doubled in the inning.