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Leslie powers Bulls past UCF

Brian Hierlmeier and Myron Leslie led the Bulls’ offensive explosion Tuesday in a 10-4 win over No. 26 UCF at Red McEwen Field.

Hierlmeier and Leslie each hit a home run and combined for seven RBIs and four runs scored in the win, which broke a losing streak after the Bulls (24-11) dropped three to East Carolina during the weekend.

“When you get Mac (Mike Macaluso) on base all the time and Hierlmeier, he’s swinging the bat good and with power the way he does, you want to contribute,” Leslie said.

The pre-season All-Conference USA selection entered the game hitting only .295 before he went 2-for-3 against the Golden Knights (29-8).

“(When) you have Devin (Ivany) behind me hitting almost .400 and (home run leader) (Matt) McHargue dropping bombs like that, you just want to get in on the action, too,” he said.

Hierlmeier hit his ninth home run of the year in the bottom of the first to tie clubhouse leader Matt McHargue, giving USF a 1-0 lead.

When Hierlmeier came up again in a four-run second inning, he added to the lead with a two-run single. Leslie came up next and hit his fourth home run of the year, giving USF a 5-0 lead.

After a three-run fifth inning, the Bulls would score again in the seventh when Leslie doubled in two more runs.

“We had to come out here and hit the ball because we definitely didn’t hit it up there (at East Carolina),” Hierlmeier said. The right fielder was sick over the weekend but said he was feeling fresh. I was seeing (the ball) good.”

Leslie became the leader in doubles in USF history with his 65th two-bagger. After the game, Cardieri seemed surprised to find out that Leslie broke the record.

“Did he?” Cardieri said. “Good for him. Myron is a guy that can carry this team in the second half. His first half was just okay for him. He’s a guy that can really get hot and this will be the right time for that to happen, too. I’m rooting for him, and I’m counting on him.”

Chase Lirette pitched six solid innings for his fifth win of the year after he was knocked out of a six-run first inning Saturday against East Carolina. The freshman moved to 5-1 with the win.

“Like I told the gang, it starts with the start,” Cardieri said. “And that was a tremendous start by Chase Lirette. He was so good tonight at knowing the plan and executing the plan that I can’t tell you. It shows a lot about what Chase is made of too. Instead of being a kid that was iffy with confidence he went out there and he just said ‘let’s go’ and he did it.”