GAME TIMEUSF (10-4) vs. Stetson (10-4)When: Tonight, 7Where: Red McEwen Field
Coach Lelo Prado is adamant about keeping mediocrity out of his program.
And since the Bulls (10-4) have lost three of their last four games, Prado called this weekend’s effort “a total disappointment” after two of three games to Central Michigan.
“That’s what this whole weekend was,” Prado said following Sunday’s 19-9 win. “I mean, I’m proud of them for coming back (in the second game) and scoring 19 runs. (But) Friday night, we played terrible.”
USF gave up 33 runs, committed 10 errors and saw two starting pitchers get rocked for 14 combined earned runs over three games.
“We won’t be satisfied with winning one out of three games,” Prado said. “We won’t accept it, or we’ll get new baseball players.”
Now, USF must bounce back from a troubling weekend by facing Stetson (10-4), the team that gave the Bulls its first lost of the season Feb. 20.
“This is a huge game for us,” Prado said Monday night. “This game will help determine if we go to (the NCAA) regionals, because Stetson is probably going to regionals.”
Prado said the errors over the weekend were “awful,” and USF has committed 30 errors already this season.
Recently, however, Stetson, is on a better roll than the Bulls have been, only losing one of its last four games. The Hatters dropped their Sunday game to No. 17 Nebraska.
Prado stressed the importance of a game against Stetson, which USF has played 143 times and trails in the all-time series 74-69, for a team trying to make a rebound.
“We have to win some of these (non-conference) games. I think our power ranking is good enough and our strength of schedule is strong enough, especially with Florida on it, and later on with Georgia Tech on it.”
Leading the Bulls is first baseman Brandin Daniel, who is batting a team-high .420 with more than 45 plate appearances and went 6-for-12 with six RBI and a home run against the Chippewas, and third baseman Addison Maruszak and second baseman Dexter Butler, who have 19 and 18 hits, respectively.
Prado said he has considered moving Daniel up in the batting order to the third or fourth spot, especially with how frequently shortstop Walter Diaz can get on base. The junior has a team-high 23 hits and has a on-base percentage of .423.
The Bulls will also turn back to freshman Matt Quevedo (1-0) to start tonight. The freshman started last week against Florida, going 5 1/3 innings and gave up three runs.”We’re hoping for another good outing from Matt,” Prado said. “We really liked what he did against Florida and hope he can do it again.”
The Hatters will start Justin Dechert, who is 2-0 with a team-low 0.96 ERA and has given up only two runs in five appearances. Stetson is led by senior third baseman Braedyn Pruitt, who is batting .396, has two home runs and 14 RBI.
But Prado won’t settle for mediocrity, because the first-year coach has one thing in mind.
“I don’t want players to have excuses,” Prado said. “I want them to get the job done. They are playing at the highest level and they can or can’t compete. If they can’t, I will find guy who will compete.
“I’m here to go to Omaha and will I will not tolerate players taking it easy out there. They have to put that jersey on and take pride in it because we can’t settle for mediocrity. That’s all I have to say about it.”