Leslie leaves mark on Bulls and record books

During the fight to try to reach the postseason, one USF baseball player etched his name in the history books forever.

On the same day senior Myron Leslie watched his team’s ninth-inning collapse end his collegiate career, he broke USF’s all-time record for career base hits.

Leslie had a hard time talking about the 9-7 loss to Louisville after his final game as a Bull.

The Cardinals scored eight runs in the ninth inning to claim the eighth spot in the Conference USA tournament and end USF’s season.

“It doesn’t even feel like that’s it, that’s the last game,” Leslie said. “I guess it will sink in later. I don’t even know. It’s there in my mind but there is no real emotion. But, I mean, it’s done. My four years are up.”

Just three more outs and Leslie would have gone to his fourth consecutive C-USA tournament.

The Valrico native has played in every game in his four years as a Bull.

He is among the top 10 in nearly every offensive category in USF history.

Leslie seemed stunned as he spoke about the way his team lost Saturday.

“I knew it could happen but as that inning was going on I really didn’t think it would happen,” he said. “I thought we would get the plays that would get us out of that inning. But it just didn’t turn out that way.”

Going into the three-game series against Louisville, Leslie had 303 career hits, but he still needed nine in his last three games for the school record.

He went 2-for-3 Thursday, 4-for-5 Friday and 3-for-4 Saturday.

After he homered in the second inning Saturday, a single in the eighth gave him the record.

“I’m sure it crossed his mind and he thought about it, but I don’t think it was necessarily his goal to go out and break the record,” his coach, Eddie Cardieri said. “Instead, (he wanted) to go out and help us win games and along the way to doing that he broke the record. I don’t think he had individual goals ahead of the team goals.”

That’s exactly how Leslie played the game.

He probably never even realized that he was on track to shatter any kind of records.

He left his heart, and his game, out on the field for the Bulls.

“He’s given us four great years and, I mean, to break that record … there’s a lot of good players that have played here; a lot of good hitters have come through here,” Cardieri said. “That’s quite an achievement.”

Leslie said he wasn’t thinking about the record, especially after the disappointing way his career ended.

“It’s not something I would think about during the season, but I guess as time goes on I’ll have time to reflect on it and look back at the entire four years and all the work that it took,” he said.

Even though his career at USF is finished, Leslie has more baseball to play, Cardieri said.

“His work ethic and his knowledge of the game are two of the intangibles that he has that maybe others players don’t posses. I’m sure that he’ll get a chance to play professional baseball and it’s not going to surprise me one bit if you see him playing in the major leagues some day,” he said.