Catch of the day

USF 3, JU 2

USF’s 3-2 win at Jacksonville on Wednesday wasn’t without its share of nail-biting moments, as the Bulls were saved by clutch pitching from two freshmen.

Freshman Daniel Thomas (3-1) allowed no runs and one hit in six innings and left with USF up 3-0.

In the eighth inning, things got hairy for a USF bullpen that has struggled recently. After Jacksonville scored on a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-1, freshman James Rowe threw a wild pitch that allowed runners to advance to second and third base. Rowe, though, got Alex Jamieson to fly out to center to quell the threat.

Jacksonville would score another run in the ninth but never threatened to score a tying run as Rowe picked up his third save of the season.

“James Rowe came in and did a nice job,” coach Eddie Cardieri said. “And we won a tough one on the road.”

USF first baseman Matt McHargue hit his third homerun of the season, a solo shot over the right center-field fence in the second inning to give the Bulls a 1-0 lead.

In the third inning, the Bulls padded their lead with two more runs. Junior Jeremy Bellotti scored on a Kyle DeVries wild pitch to make it 2-0. A Jeff Baisley single during the next at-bat brought home Bryan Hierlmeier.

“It was a great game to win,” Cardieri said. “And a tough game to lose (for Jacksonville).”

Thomas, coming off Tommy John surgery, struck out two and walked four en route to his third win in four starts.

“Our pitching really came through,” Cardieri said. “And Daniel Thomas didn’t even have his best stuff. And that’s the mark of a good pitcher. I’m just pleased he can come back quickly after Tommy John surgery and be able to pitch effectively.”

USF welcomes Jacksonville to Red McEwen field on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m.