Bulls drop game in extra innings

With the game tied in the top of the 11th, Stetson first baseman Chris Johnson hit the go-ahead game-winning two-run home run to secure the 12-9 win. The victory was the Hatters’ first at Red McEwen Field since April 22, 2003.

The Bulls (19-23) hit three home runs in the game, including a second-inning grand slam from third baseman Dexter Butler and a game-tying ninth inning home run from shortstop Addison Maruszak. The home runs were the first of the season for both players and the first of Maruszak’s career.

“It’s been like this the whole season. We play tough and hang in, but lose,” Maruszak said. “We need to step it up in the end and pull through more.”

Stetson was lead by Johnson, who accounted for two home runs and six RBI. The RBI tied a career-game high that he set against Mercer earlier in the season. Johnson finished the game 3-for-5 at the plate and has six home runs and 42 RBI this season.

“This is no different than Sunday’s game (against Pittsburgh),” coach Eddie Cardieri said. “We battled as hard as we could and came up short. Sooner or later we’re going to find a way to battle and win the game instead of battling and losing the game.”

USF has played Stetson (26-16) more than any other team in its history. With a total of 142 meetings, the Hatters lead the all-time series 72-69.

“The matchup serves its purpose. We are in close proximity with one another and usually play exciting mid-week games,” Cardieri said. “All I know is that we have really great games (against Stetson), and we win some and we lose some.”

Even though the outcome wasn’t what the Bulls wanted, Cardieri was happy to see his offense perform to its potential.

“We accomplished what we wanted to other than winning the game,” Cardieri said. “This is how our season has gone – we’ve played well but didn’t have enough to get the win.”

Butler is 3-for-6 in career with bases, and the grand slam was his first. He was glad to have his first home run this season be a grand slam, but wanted to win the game more.

“I think that we are a much better team than we are playing as right now,” Butler said. “(Tuesday night’s) game is one where we had to come up with a little bit more, but we weren’t able to come up with that little bit tonight.”