Bulls nix Knights

ORLANDO – Center fielder Ty Taborelli is quietly in the midst of a solid season. His numbers this year have been good, but not flashy.

Tuesday night against UCF (21-19), the junior clinched the victory in the top of the 11th inning with an RBI single through the hole between first and second base. The hit led to a 6-4 victory for the Bulls at Jay Bergman Field.

After losing the first game 11-0 to the Golden Knights, the Bulls felt UCF took them lightly. USF (18-20) responded by winning the next two meetings on the road to take the season series 2-1. The Bulls are 3-2 in extra-inning games this season.

“(UCF’s win) embarrassed us the first game, and (the Golden Knights) didn’t give us any respect,” senior Brian Baisley said. “To come (to Orlando) and take two out of three is a good feeling. We needed this win, and hopefully we gained some respect.”

The Bulls jumped out to an early 3-0 lead as Taborelli, who is batting .274 with 31 hits in 35 games, started the game by walking on four straight pitches; Addison Maruszak followed with an RBI double. USF tacked on two more runs as Kris Howell lined an RBI triple and scored on a sacrifice fly.

“We opened the game with solid pitching, and our relievers came through and held just enough for us tonight,” coach Eddie Cardieri said. “We got some clutch hitting and were able to defeat a tough team.”

Taborelli went 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored.

“I try and stay even-keeled and not change my approach,” Taborelli said. “Tonight I just got some pitches to hit and was able to line them where I needed.”

Coach Cardieri knew that Taborelli was due for a big game.

“He’s been solid all season; just tonight when it mattered, he delivered for us,” Cardieri said. “We teach our players to hit low and pick their spots. (In the 11th), he did just that. It ended up being the difference.”

After leading 4-0 in the sixth inning, the Knights rallied to tie the score. Third baseman Tyson Auer hit a solo home run, and Dave DiNatale followed with an RBI single to cut the score to 4-3. Ryan Williams tied the score with an RBI single to right field.

In the eighth inning, the Bulls had an opportunity to win the game but couldn’t capitalize. USF loaded the bases all on walks, but with two outs, second baseman Nick Cardieri struck out.

Baisley started the extra-innings rally with a double to right-center field.

Taborelli followed with his single, and Mike Consolmagno hit an RBI single to give the Bulls a two-run lead.

“Tonight everything fell into place, and it’s always nice to get a win over (UCF),” Taborelli said. “Hopefully, we can use this game to build some momentum and finish the season strong.”