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Senior catcher leaves big hole in lineup

CLEARWATER – For one USF baseball player and his family, Wednesday’s 6-4 loss to St. John’s in the Big East Tournament wasn’t just the end of another season, but the end of an era.

Senior catcher Brian Baisley, who has been at USF since 2001, finished his fourth season with a bang, posting a batting average of near .300. He leaves the team with 209 games on his college resume.

“It’s disappointing because you don’t want the season to be over, but life goes on,” said Baisley who finished the tournament with a hit and an RBI.

Brian’s twin brother, Jeff, who plays for the Kane County Cougars in Geneva, Ill. – the Oakland Athletics’ minor league A team – also played for USF.

“Brian and his brother, Jeff, have both been so special,” coach Eddie Cardieri said. “They’re both great players; they had great careers here. Their careers were a little bit different even though they’re twins, in that Jeff played right away as a freshman and Brian redshirted that freshman year.”

Brian’s father, Calvin Baisley, will have to make an adjustment from the past half decade of his life.

“What am I going to do for the next five years?” Calvin said. “The last five years I’ve been going to USF games, watching Brian or Jeff, so it’s tough, but it’s time to move on and see what else is out there.”

Like Jeff, Brian is hoping to get a shot at playing baseball at the professional level. And because he is a fifth-year senior, Brian has the option to sign with a team as a free agent before the draft, which takes place in New York on June 6-7.

“I’m waiting to see what happens,” Brian said about the upcoming draft. “It’s out of my hands now. I’ve done the best I can for four years here, and if somebody likes me then they like me.”

Even though Brian finished his senior season with a .299 batting average, he missed significant playing time due to a back injury.

“It’s kind of disappointing,” Brian said. “I thought I could have an offensive year like I did last year (.349), but I’ve been battling injuries.”

But a disappointing season for Brian will still most likely be good enough to get him to a minor league team, and he’ll have the help of his two brothers.

“(Jeff will help me) tons, plus my older brother (Brad) played seven or eight years in the minors,” Brian said. “They’re definitely behind me. They’ll be getting some phone calls here. Their experience will help me out a lot.”

As for Brian’s thoughts on ending his USF career with two straight losses in the Big East Tournament and making an early exit from Bright House Networks Field, he wishes the Bulls’ season wasn’t over.

“We came together as a team the last couple weeks,” Brian said. “We were playing good, so we thought we could come in and make some noise and win a few games.”