After being rained out Friday and Saturday, the USF men’s baseball team had to settle with a delayed doubleheader Sunday against Louisville at Cardinal Stadium, but came away with the two seven-inning game sweep, 8-2 and 3-2, respectively.
On Friday, the Bulls (20-13, 7-1 C-USA) were tied with the Cardinals (14-10, 5-3 C-USA) for first place in the conference, but due to the sweep and No. 3 Tulane’s (25-5, 7-2 C-USA) own three-game sweep of UAB over the weekend, it is now the Green Wave and USF who share the conference lead.
In the first game, Casey Hudspeth, the usual Friday starter, earned his sixth win of the season in only his ninth appearance on route to pitching six innings, giving up two runs, six hits, a walk and striking out three.
Catcher Brian Baisley hit his fifth home run of the season with a three-run shot in the top of the second and is currently batting .292 on the season. Shortstop Jeremy Brand also added a solo-shot for his second home run of the year in the same inning.
The Bulls had a little more difficulty in the second game against Louisville, as freshman starter Daniel Thomas (6-2) gave up an early home run in the first to J.T LaFountain, his seventh of the season.
Thomas would bounce back and throw 4 1/3 innings, walking four batters and giving up only one more run to the Cardinals.
In the top of the third, left fielder Tim Orlosky hit a solo home run, while first baseman Matt McHargue hit a two-run shot — his sixth of the season — to take the 3-1 lead over Louisville.
Bulls’ relief pitching of James Rowe, Chase Lirette and Tim Mattison combined to pitch 2 2/3 innings, gave up no runs and only one walk, as Mattison, a senior, recorded his sixth save and improves his ERA to 1.67.
Coach Eddie Cardieri knows that C-USA will be a true testing finale for his team, but stated that this weekend’s games against Louisville really proved how tough going out will be.
“This weekend was really tough, especially the second game,” said Cardieri, who is now five games shy of reaching 700 wins for his career as a coach. “And what was really tough was sweeping the doubleheader from (Louisville). But our toughness really came through in the second game. The way we were able to hold on — especially with the tremendous job done by Rowe, Chase and Timmy — just proves that.”