When Devin Ivany came up in the bottom of the sixth inning Sunday, he had an 11-game hitting streak on the line. The USF baseball team was down by five runs and needed to rally.
Ivany turned on an inside pitch and blasted the ball down the third-base line for a double, scoring the third run of the inning for the Bulls and extending his hitting streak to 12 games. However, it wasn’t enough ,as USF lost to No. 16 Southern Miss 9-3, giving the Golden Eagles the series with their second win in the three-game set.
Southern Miss took the lead early, scoring a run in the first, but it was a six-run fifth inning that put the game out of USF’s reach.
Even after the Bulls scored three in the sixth, the Golden Eagles answered in the top of the seventh when they tacked on two more runs, which ended the game’s scoring. Southern Miss second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir hit a rocket off the top of the outfield fence and over for a two-run home run.
“Today they hit the ball better than us,” Ivany said. “It is hard to come back when you are down and you score runs and then they get some back right after you scored.”
Ivany’s hit streak should impress the selection committee of the Johnny Bench Award. He is on the award’s watch list for the 2004 season.
The preseason All-Conference USA selection is hitting .400 and leads the team with 32 RBIs.
“He is off to a great start,” coach Eddie Cardieri said. “I mean, he is hot.”Ivany said he was out in front of the ball and that he felt a little jumpy at the plate Sunday, but overall he is happy with his at-bats.
“I feel like I am swinging the bat all right,” Ivany said. “For the most part, I think I am hitting the ball good.”
Cardieri seems impressed by Ivany thus far and said he needs to continue to be consistent all year.
“He is swinging the bat very well,” Cardieri said. “And the idea is to continue and to build on what you are doing.”
The loss was USF’s second conference defeat. The Bulls dropped a close one Saturday to Southern Miss, 3-2.
Casey Hudspeth (4-1) was unable to get his fifth win of the season Saturday. The freshman allowed two runs on nine hits in 7 and 1/3 innings.
The Golden Eagles scored the game-winning run in the top of the ninth when Hoffpauir singled in Beau Griffin from second.
USF opened the series with a 16-7 win Friday night. The Bulls scored six runs in the bottom of the first and had a season-high 20 hits on the night.
“I thought we came out with a lot of intensity Friday night,” Ivany said. “We obviously swung the bat pretty well.”
Kyle Schmidt (5-1) earned his fourth straight win in that game, allowing four runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings.After the series loss, Cardieri seems to be looking ahead.
“We lost another battle but we haven’t lost the war,” Cardieri said.
Injury Report: First baseman Matt McHargue pulled a hamstring Sunday trying to beat out a ground ball. Cardieri said he will be on a day-to-day basis and that he probably won’t play Tuesday against Stetson.
McHargue has played first base and has been the designated hitter for USF this season. The sophomore has started 21 games for the Bulls this season and is second on the team with five home runs.