When: Tonight, 8; Saturday, 3 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.
Where: Lupton Stadium
The story: The Bulls are coming off a tough 8-7 loss Tuesday to in-state rival UCF and now face an equally tough opponent in the Horned Frogs. The starting pitchers for Friday night will be USF sophomore Casey Hudspeth and junior Lance Broadway. Both Hudspeth and Broadway boast 6-1 records, though Broadway’s ERA is a little lower at 1.24 compared to Hudspeth’s 3.30. The two pitchers have both appeared in nine games, but the TCU righthander has only given up seven earned runs all season. Hudspeth has given up 21, but also struck out 59, even though Broadway has a slight advantage with 68 strikeouts.
“(TCU’s) starting pitching is so good,” coach Eddie Cardieri said. “Only a handful of pitchers have been able to do what that entire pitching staff has done.”
Horned Frog pitcher’s have a 4.28 ERA — the Bulls pitching staff’s is 4.65 — given up only 126 over 29 games, struck out 268 batters, while allowing just 13 home runs.
“Nothing more can be said. TCU is really good. They are so good,” added Cardieri, who in his 20th season with USF and five more wins will reach 700 for his career as a head coach.
The Bulls offense was very productive in Tuesday’s loss — seven runs on 13 hits — but also left 14 runners on base. The team has now left 262 baserunners all season.
“I think the guys are doing alright,” Cardieri said. “We’ll see. We probably won’t see until they get out on the field and get to playing to know for sure.”
Keep an eye on: The bats of Jeff and Brian Baisley and Matt McHargue. Jeff and Brian have accounted for almost half of the Bulls’ offense which has scored 202 runs all season. Jeff — the third baseman and pictured, right — is batting .376 with 50 hits, 17 doubles, four home runs and 41 RBI, while Brian — the catcher — is batting .305 with 36 hits, 10 doubles, five home runs and 25 RBI.
“Jeff has been consistent all season, of course, and Brian has been great. He has really come around recently,” Cardieri said. “But Matt’s hitting the ball real hard right now. He’s been hitting it hard all year, and probably will continue to.”
McHargue — the senior first baseman — doesn’t have as high as stats as the Baisley brothers, but is tied for the lead at seven home runs with senior rightfielder Bryan Hierlmeier and is also batting .222 with 20 RBI and five doubles.