The USF players walked slowly to the dugout after a long team meeting following a 7-1 loss to TCU Sunday.
Some wore long faces, while others threw down their mitts or cleats in disgust.
It was the most disappointed the Bulls have looked all season.
“We needed this series bad,” senior shortstop Myron Leslie said.
The Bulls opened the series with a come-from-behind 4-3 victory Friday but lost in extra innings Saturday, setting up a decisive Game 3. But it seemed like the Bulls forgot to show up.
“This is probably one of the biggest games we’ve played in conference so far,” senior second baseman Mike Macaluso said. “We were tied with TCU coming in, and now they just jumped ahead of us. We needed this win bad, and unfortunately, we didn’t get it.”
Macaluso led all USF hitters with two hits and a walk on the afternoon.
“I felt I played pretty well, but I can go out there and go 4-for-4 with four home runs, but if we lose it doesn’t really mean anything to me.”
TCU took an early lead when Chris Neuman hit a two-run home run in the top of the first, and the Horned Frogs didn’t look back. They added five more runs in the game before the Bulls were able to score, while TCU starter Ryan Weems (4-1) held USF to just one hit through the first five innings.
USF escaped embarrassment by preventing a shutout in the eighth inning. Leslie drove a shot up the middle that scored Ty Taborelli, but that was all the Bulls could muster.
“We just didn’t have very good intensity today,” Leslie said. ” A lot of the things we talk about are heart, confidence and intensity for nine innings and those words did not describe us today. The only thing this is is a wakeup call.”
USF entered the series tied with TCU for fourth in C-USA, but after the weekend the Bulls fell into a tie for fifth with Louisville.
Macaluso said anything less than a sweep at Memphis this weekend will be unacceptable.
Leslie talked about looking to win out the rest of the season.
“This was an important series for us after dropping three games last weekend to get back in the upper tier of the conference standings,” Leslie said. “After yesterday we felt ‘well, we need to come out today and just play good and play hard’ and those things didn’t happen.
“What’s going to be important is next weekend going back into conference and really trying to fight now. We’re going to be in a dogfight for the rest of the year within conference.”
On Friday, USF took an early lead in the series, using a late-inning comeback to beat TCU 4-3.
Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Leslie and Devin Ivany each singled in a run to give the Bulls the win.
Daniel Albritton came in relief with two outs in the eighth and shut down the Horned Frogs, gaining his third win of the season. Casey Hudspeth started for the Bulls and allowed three runs on four hits while striking out two in 7 2/3 innings.
On Saturday an eighth-inning rally was not enough as USF lost 7-6 in 10 innings.
Nick Cardieri hit a three-run home run with two outs in the eighth to even the score at six. But in the top of the 10th, Shelby Ford hit a solo home run to give TCU the win, evening the series at one game apiece.
In his second appearance in two days, Albritton (3-2) gave up Ford’s blast and got the loss in relief for Kyle Schmidt.
Schmidt allowed four runs on six hits while striking out six in six innings.