Manganaro to start today

Tonight the USF baseball team hosts Stetson, and Bulls starter Nick Manganaro has a chance to redeem himself after his last outing.

Against Southern Miss, Manganaro (3-2) was shelled, giving up seven runs on nine hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings. And when teammate and fellow freshman Chase Lirette (4-0) pitched well the following Tuesday against Stetson, he made his case for a weekend starting spot, which he got Sunday against Saint Louis.

Cardieri said the change is not definite.

“It’s just going to depend how the weekends go,” Cardieri said. “Nick could still start on Sunday. We’ll probably change it up; it’s not anything that’s carved in stone.”

The fact that Stetson saw Lirette on Tuesday in the 9-2 win also had to do with the shakeup in the rotation, Cardieri said.

“Chase started last Tuesday against Stetson so we don’t like to have the same guy pitch in two consecutive weeks against the same opponent,” Cardieri said.

But a spot in the weekend rotation is still a possibility for Manganaro, who Cardieri said he likes because he is left-handed.

“It’s good to have a lefty in your rotation,” Cardieri said. “After he throws tomorrow he will be ready to go on Sunday (if needed) so he ought to be able to help us against East Carolina.”

Manganaro made an appearance in relief Saturday against Saint Louis. He gave up one run on one hit, with one walk and one strike out.

Aside from Manganaro and Lirette, the Bulls have two other freshmen who have made starts this year. Casey Hudspeth (5-1) has been working mostly Saturdays and Daniel Albritton (2-1) has started some midweek games.

Cardieri said he is impressed with the way his young pitchers have come in and contributed.

“Were only half the way through,” Cardieri said. “And they’re only going to remember how we finish. That’s what’s important – how we finish.

“So we have a very important and very tough stretch coming up, and I hope everybody can continue going.”

Tonight Cardieri would take five good innings from his southpaw.

“Seven would be great, but even if he gave us five good innings, I’ve got to think we’d have a chance to win if he did that. Stetson is a good ball club, and they’re doing well in their league, and the midweek games are very important.”

USF sweeps C-USA honors

USF softball players Tiffany Stewart and Leigh Ann Ellis swept the Conference USA weekly awards after their performances this past weekend in the three-game sweep against Saint Louis.

Stewart, who became the second Bull to be named Hitter of the Week this season, went 5-for-7 (.714) with seven RBIs and three runs scored in two games against the Billikens. Stewart belted a grand slam Sunday, her second grand slam and seventh home run on the season, to end USF’s 11-0 win in a mercy-rule shortened game.

Ellis, who was named the conference’s Pitcher of the Week for the fifth time this season, picked up two of USF’s three wins during the series. In 13 innings, Ellis struck out 20 and walked two.

Ellis has not allowed an earned run in her last 30 1/3 innings, lowering her C-USA best ERA to 0.77. She also has not let an extra-base hit in her last 17 appearances this season.