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Young blood gets it done on the road

USF 3, BCC 1

Rebounding isn’t just for the men’s basketball team anymore, especially after the weekend the USF baseball team had.

After being swept through three games by the No. 5 Miami Hurricanes (7-0) — who just happen to be off to their best start in a decade — the Bulls (4-3) were able to rebound from those three losses.

Tuesday, USF headed over to Daytona and beat Bethune-Cookman 3-1 at Jackie Robinson for its fourth win in 12 days over the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference team. To open the season on Feb. 4, the Bulls swept the Wildcats — including a 16-4 win on Feb. 6 in which the team accumulated its 16 runs on 17 hits.

Freshman Daniel Thomas started on the mound for USF and pitched five innings, allowed one run, three hits and struck out four while only walking two batters.

“Our guys just came out and played a good game of baseball,” coach Eddie Cardieri said. “We had three freshmen come out and pitch and that should tell you the whole story then.”

Freshman right-handed pitcher Ty Pryor came into the sixth inning for relief of Thomas and threw for 2 2/3 innings. Southpaw James Rowe came in to close the game and earned a save but gave up the late run to the Wildcats.

The Bulls offense, which had been averaging seven runs a game, put up their lowest-scoring output through seven games and scored all of their three runs in the top of the fourth.

Senior third baseman Jeff Baisley had an RBI double and then junior first baseman Matt McHargue brought Baisley home when he hit a two-run shot for his first home run of the season.

Although Cardieri says he won’t take a team lightly — especially one of the neighboring Florida teams — USF used the afternoon game with Bethune-Cookman to get back on track after an ugly weekend, and the veteran coach knows that teams like the Wildcats help in what is always a long season.

“Absolutely. Playing a team like (BCC) helps us bounce and helps boost morale. It’s just good to see them bounce back and rebound after the weekend,” Cardieri said. “It was a good series to win, especially since we basically had beaten ourselves in at least two of those games over the weekend.”