It felt like a turnaround – until Sunday.
The USF baseball team was able to win two out of three games in the Stetson Invitational, the only regular-season tournament the Bulls (4-6) are participating in.
On Friday, the bat of sophomore Joey Angelberger bought home the game-winning run in the bottom of the 13th inning for the 4-3 win over Western Carolina. Angelberger also batted in the game-winning RBI Saturday in the 4-2 win over Illinois.
But Sunday was a different story, as the Bulls lost 7-2 to Stetson (5-6) after starting pitcher Nick Manganaro gave up five runs in the bottom of the fourth to add to the Hatters’ 1-0 lead.While coach Eddie Cardieri says “no decision” will be made to pull the junior lefthander from Sunday starts after giving up 11 runs in two starts, he spoke of the need to evaluate his pitching staff.
“Their starter (Corey Kluber) did a very good job, and our starter didn’t (because he) had that one bad inning,” Cardieri said. “That was the storyline today. Nick’s location wasn’t good. He’s the kind of guy who needs a lot of pitch control, and he just made a few bad pitches.
“We have several options. We just have to see the health of everyone’s arms, and we’ll look at the scouting reports on the teams a little harder and our options.”
A few bright spots came out of the tournament for the Bulls in addition to the two wins. Angelberger went 5-for-14 at the plate with three RBI, while shortstop Addison Maruszak went 5-for-13 with two RBI. However, after extending his hitting streak to eight games, senior Kris Howell went hitless against Stetson.
“(Angelberger)’s a positive. It really looks like his bat is starting to come alive,” Carideri said. “He starting to come around as the hitter we know that he is, and he played well defensively.”
Angelberger credits his usual work ethic to his hitting improving but was still disappointed with only two wins.
“If you keep working, you’re going to hit,” said Angelberger, who raised his batting average to .236 this weekend. “I hit last season; I’m going to hit again. It’s simple like that in just getting (my bat) back to where it was.
“(The game-winning RBI) felt good. Would’ve felt better, though, if we could’ve won all three games.”
As the Hatters took a 71-70 edge over USF in the all-time series, Cardieri felt the turnaround but still feels the team is finding itself.
“The two games we won we against two very good teams,” Cardieri said. “In today’s game, we just gave them that crooked number, because aside from that, we’re in that game.
“As a whole, we looked all right. We did pretty well. We also lost to a pretty good team because it’s still early and we’re still trying to figure things out about ourselves.”