Bulls ready to tangle with Frogs

When the Bulls host TCU for a three-game series this weekend, two of Conference USA’s premier pitchers could square off. The Horned Frogs’ Clayton Jerome (7-2) boasts the most wins in the conference while the Bulls’ top pitcher, Kyle Schmidt (6-2), is just one win behind.

Jerome has been stellar his whole career at TCU, USF coach Eddie Cardieri said. “He’s one of the best guys we face during the course of the year so it’ll be a big test, you know, a big challenge for our team.”

Jerome has a 2.76 ERA in 10 starts this season and has 56 strikeouts in 65.1 innings of action. Last season he pitched a complete game against the Bulls but had no run support in a 3-0 loss.

Schmidt has been effective so far this season as well. When the junior transferred from Georgia Tech, he immediately became the leader of a freshman-laden pitching rotation. He leads the Bulls with a 2.89 ERA and has 42 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched.

The two pitchers could face each other Saturday afternoon at 1p.m. Cardieri was told Jerome is TCU’s tentative starter for Saturday and he has said that Schmidt will start for USF. Casey Hudspeth (5-2) will go for his sixth win of the year Friday and the Bulls’ Sunday starter hasn’t been named yet, Cardieri said.

“It’s a big series for us,” Cardieri said. “We’re tied with them in the league and they’re a good ball club.”

Brian Hierlmeier is glad his team got back on track Tuesday with a win over UCF after being swept by East Carolina. “They’ve got good pitching supposedly,” Hierlmeier said. “Luckily, we started to hit the ball on Tuesday so we have some confidence built up and hopefully we can take that into Friday night.”

Hierlmeier had a career night against the Golden Knights, reaching base every time up. The right-fielder went 4-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored in the 10-4 win. TCU looks to end a four game road-losing streak tonight. The Bulls have ended the Horned Frogs’ last two seasons by defeating them in the C-USA tournament.