Bulls keep rolling

USF 13 | Michigan St. 5

The Bulls sent eight batters to the plate in the first inning Thursday, letting Michigan State know what was to come.

USF finished with 19 hits, while dominating the Spartans in a 13-5 win at Red McEwen Field – the third straight win for the Bulls (12-4).

After scoring four runs in the first inning off five hits – the same amount of hits Michigan State had all night – USF scored a run in both the second and the fifth.

Then in the sixth with a 6-4 lead, senior Ty Taborelli hit a three-run home run, and sophomore Addison Maruszak followed with a solo homer.

“(Taborelli and Maruszak are) starting to take better swings. They’re really working hard in the (batting) cages,” coach Lelo Prado said. “Coach Bryant (Ward) and coach (Tino) Martinez have done a great job with our hitters, and right now, they’re swinging the bat with some confidence.”

After being held to two hits in a loss to Central Michigan on Friday, the Bulls have 58 hits in their last four outings. Thursday’s win was the second time in three games they’ve had 19 hits.

“(The hits are) a great surprise, because I never saw this coming,” Prado said. “They’re working hard, and that’s the reason they’re being successful.”

Junior Chris Delaney got the win, improving his record to 3-0, while giving up four earned runs with five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.

With runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth inning, Prado went to the bullpen, putting in junior James Rowe.

Rowe hit the first batter he faced, which loaded the bases. Michigan State then scored two runs on a single to left field.

Sophomore Matt Wagner took over in the seventh. However, like Rowe, Wagner lasted just one-third of an inning.

Entering the game with the bases loaded and one out, freshman Shawn Sanford struck out two straight batters to close the inning. USF went on to score three more runs.

“(Sanford) did a good job,” Prado said. “I don’t know what happened with Rowe and Wagner – Wagner usually throws strikes, (but) they couldn’t find it. We needed (Sanford) to pick us up, and he did. And he did a hell of a job.”

Although the Bulls have won three straight, they lost three in a row last week. Prado has said several times he’ll put whoever is going to get the job done out on the field.

“We’re kind of inconsistent sometimes with hitting and pitching, and what (Prado is) trying to do for us now is to get us consistent,” Maruszak said. “If we had hitting and pitching on the right page, we’d be unstoppable.”