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Baisley brother big in weekend sweep

USF 8, JU 0
USF 5, JU 4 F/11

A pinch of Baisley is all it took for the USF baseball team to win.

Jeff Baisley that is.

Over a two-game weekend against Jacksonville (7-4), Jeff — the older of the two Land o’ Lakes brothers — picked up two home runs and five RBI, while Brian Baisley, a junior, notched three RBI and a double for himself.

On Friday, USF (8-5) cruised with its starting pitching as sophomore Casey Hudspeth (2-0) struck out nine in six innings, while walking no batters or giving up any runs.

The Bulls shut out the Dolphins 8-0 in a game that lasted only a little over two hours. Jeff Baisley knocked off his first homerun of the season in the sixth inning, but that wouldn’t be the last Jacksonville would hear from the senior.

On Saturday, it was Jeff who won the game for the Bulls in extra innings. 5-4.First off, USF came back from a 3-0 deficit that started with Matt McHargue’s fourth home run in the fourth inning.

“I think that Matt’s home run really got a spark for us,” coach Eddie Cardieri said. “But I think relief pitching was great. It’s a tribute to the relievers. The relievers came in and did a job, every guy.”

The bullpen was called on early because sophomore starter Nick Manganaro only lasted two innings and gave up three runs on five hits, but Ty Pryor, Ryan Lau, Tim Mattison and Chase Lirette — who was down in the pen after his usually Sunday start was scratched — were able to pitch 5 2/3 innings.

“Something I don’t want to get lost in the shuffle is the great job the relievers did, “Cardieri said. “Every reliever came in and it seemed like we were in jams the whole game, yet they only got four runs in 11 innings.”

However, none of it came without a few intense situations, including the top of the eighth inning in which Lirette had three Dolphins on base and gave up a deep hit to right field, but was snagged by a diving Bryan Hierlmeier to save the lead.

The Bulls got that lead in the seventh, not only from the Baisley’s but from the rest of the lineup as well.

Shortstop Dexter Butler beat out an infield single, then advanced to second on a Ty Taborelli ground out, but Jeremy Bellotti drove Butler home with his single to left field. But as Bellotti moved to second on a wild pitch and Hierlmier flied out, Jeff Baisley came to plate. Jeff singled to left field to score Bellotti from second to tie the game.

McHargue singled at the next at-bat to move Jeff to second, but it was younger brother Brian who then singled to center field as Jeff scored the go-ahead run.

Freshman James Rowe came in the eighth to pitch for Lirette, but hit one batter in and gave up the solo shot to Dolphins sophomore Zach Haniff.

When the bottom of the 11th inning rolled around, Jeff came up as the second batter and on the very first pitch took freshman John Locklear deep to left field.

Baisley’s walk-off home run was 355 feet deep and the second of the weekend and season.

But he credits the best offensive of his career — he’s batting .404 with 21 hits, 19 RBI, six doubles and only five strikeouts — to nothing than just being healthy.

“Last year, I wasn’t healthy,” Baisley said. “This year I am, and I’m taking really good swings and making good contact. I hope and going to try (to stay healthy) all year.”