KSU 7, USF 2
After a relaxing weekend sweep of Charlotte, the USF baseball team had no time to relish a 3-0 conference start as Kent State rolled into town boasting an 11-7 record and with something to prove to the injury-plagued Bulls, especially after beating teams like Illinois and fellow C-USA team Louisville earlier in the year.
The Golden Flashes took advantage of USF’s young pitching as Blake Tillet, Chase Lirette, Davis Bilardello (0-1) and Tim Mattison (0-1) combined to give up seven runs and 18 hits, in the 7-2 loss at Red McEwen Field. Tillet — who made his first collegiate start on the mound — lasted only three innings, gave up six hits, two runs and two walks before giving way to Lirette (1-3), who was later charged with the loss.
“I have to tip my cap to Kent State,” coach Eddie Cardieri said. “They’re a good ball club and that just was not a good ball game for the club because we played so well over the weekend. I mean, they got more hits in (the seventh) they we did the whole game.”
The Bulls faced a pitcher with little starting experience against junior Jon Miller — who made his start of the season — but had better success than USF’s starting pitching. Miller lasted through five innings, gave up only three hits, no runs and a walk, while facing 18 batters.
After KSU notched its two runs in the first and third, USF (15-12) was able to tie the game up with help from at least one Baisley brother.
Jeff Baisley went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs — Tim Orlosky and Ty Taborelli – in the sixth with a single, but the scoring threat ended when his brother Brian came up and grounded into a 4-6-3 double play on the very next pitch. It was the second of the night that Brian had grounded into that included his twin brother and ended the inning.
“He hit it good and there’s nothing he could do about it,” Jeff said of his brother’s at-bats. “He hit both of them hard, but he also hit it at the second baseman.”
Lirette pitched himself out of two jams throughout the game. In the fourth, when he came in for Tillet with no outs and two men on, forced two groundouts and a strikeout to end the inning. In the sixth, Lirette had an unassisted putout on a chopper, as KSU left two men on base.
The Golden Flashes poured it on in the seventh with seven straight hits — 18 total hits being KSU’s season-high — and a complete rotation through the batting order.
The go-ahead came on a double by Chuck Moore and then shortstop Andy Hargrove — whose dad is former Baltimore manger Mike Hargrove — drove in two more with a single to center.
“Blake gave us a good start,” Cardieri said, “but their pitchers did something right because they got us out, and their hitters did something right because they put up all those runs. So it just a game were we got beat.”