USF still in C-USA title hunt

The race for the Conference USA baseball title is heating up. Entering the second half of the conference schedule, the Bulls have an opportunity to make a move in the standings, facing six games in the next two weeks.

USF (26-13, 8-7 C-USA) is tied for sixth place in the conference, four games behind conference-leading Southern Miss and East Carolina.

Today the Bulls travel to Memphis for a three-game series before they host Charlotte next weekend. And these two series could set USF up for a late-season run at the title.

Memphis and Charlotte have a combined conference record of 13-17 and are eighth and ninth in the league, respectively. Series wins over these teams would help the Bulls gain some ground on the league leaders.

Southern Miss visits third-place Tulane this weekend and losses by either team will only help USF. And if Tulane can win the series the Bulls will gain significant ground.

What hurt the Bulls were sweeps at the hands of Southern Miss and East Carolina and a winless record on the road in C-USA play. But sweeps of their own against Cincinnati and Saint Louis have kept USF above .500 in the conference.

As far as making the NCAA tournament, the Bulls could get in even without a conference title based on a strong non-conference record. USF is 18-6 out-of-conference. They split a series with No. 4 Miami, and the Bulls are poised for season sweeps over No. 23 UCF and Stetson, having not lost to either team this season. They play each team once more this season.

Catcher Devin Ivany leads the Bulls at the plate with a .371 batting average and 40 RBI. Kyle Schmidt leads the pitching staff with a 6-2 record. He has a 3.05 ERA.

New recruits

Thursday the Bulls announced the signing of two pitching recruits for the 2005 season.

Right-handed James Cassidy of Medway (Mass.) High School and left-hander James Rowe from Cocoa High School will be the newest additions to the USF pitching staff for the 2005 season.

Cassidy has the ability to play a position in the field, possibly even the outfield, where the Bulls will lose at least one starter. Coach Eddie Cardieri praised cassidy’s arm and the way he swings the bat.