Panthers due up for Bulls, part II


USF (18-20, 7-8) at Pittsburgh (15-20, 4-11)

When: Tonight, 7

Where: Trees Field

The story: After winning four out of their last five games, the Bulls will go on the road to continue Big East play with a three-game series against the Panthers.

USF had lost eight straight games – including being swept by Cincinnati and Notre Dame – before turning it around with a 4-3 win at UCF on April 11.

The Bulls’ last outing was a 6-4 extra-inning win – also against the Golden Knights – Tuesday at Jay Bergman Field.

USF led the game 4-0 through nearly four innings, but UCF got on the board in the fourth inning and tied it at 4-4 in the sixth inning.

Junior Ty Taborelli and redshirt freshman Mike Consolmagno each hit RBI singles in the 11th inning to give the Bulls their second win over the Golden Knights in eight days.

USF is in sixth place in the 12-team conference, while Pittsburgh is in 11th – three spots out of the final conference tournament seed.

The Panthers have won their last two games, scoring in double figures in both games. Pittsburgh beat Akron 10-6 on Wednesday and beat Ohio 15-1 on Tuesday. In its last Big East series, the Panthers fell twice to Villanova.

With 12 Big East games remaining on their schedule, the Bulls only have one series remaining against a team that is ahead of them in the conference standings (St. John’s 25-11, 8-4).

This weekend will be the first-ever meeting between USF and Pittsburgh.

Keep an eye on: Kris Howell. The senior left fielder leads the Bulls with a .352 batting average. Howell has played in all 38 games this season and started 37 games. In Tuesday’s win against USF, Howell finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk.

– Kevin Smetana