USF set to play C-USA champs

The USF baseball team had to adjust to a different schedule this week, but coach Eddie Cardieri said his team is ready for a series with the defending Conference USA champions, No. 16 Southern Miss.

Because of the way the schedule worked out, the Bulls had no midweek game to prepare for three games with the Golden Eagles this weekend, starting with a game tonight at 7p.m.

“We like to play on Tuesdays because that midweek game … can keep your relievers sharp and keep your hitters hitting,” Cardieri said. “But it just so happened with the schedule that we didn’t have one this week so there’s nothing we can do about it. But we used the week to have a pretty good week of practice.”

This is USF’s second weekend of conference action. The Bulls swept Cincinnati to start conference play last weekend.

“In league play we want to win two out of three every weekend, if not sweep. You want to defend your home court, so to speak.”

The Golden Eagles (18-3) are coming off a big 8-7 win against No. 5 Ole Miss in their mid-week game.

“They won our league last year and they have a lot of players returning off of that club,” Cardieri said. “They have leadership; they have guys that have been through it before. And they have very good pitching, they’re swinging the bat real good — I mean, they are just really playing well right now.”

But the Bulls enter the series playing good baseball as well. They have won 12 of their last 14 games, including series sweeps over Massachusetts and Cincinnati and a 7-2 win against No. 6 Miami.

On the mound tonight for USF will be Kyle Schmidt (4-1). Saturday, Casey Hudspeth (4-1) will pitch and Sunday Nick Manganaro (3-1) will get the start.

“We had a good week of practice and it’s a big series for us and I think our guys are ready,” Cardieri said.