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One over Ospreys

A complete game, numerous walks lead to a Bulls win Tuesday.

USF came out on top Tuesday night against North Florida, but coach Lelo Prado would’ve liked to see the Bulls capitalize on the Ospreys’ early mistakes.

North Florida pitcher Dicarlo Thompson began the bottom of the first inning by loading the bases on walks, and he also hit a batter before being taken out after just a third of an inning. However, USF (16-7, 2-1) failed to get a hit and came out of the inning with one run from a sacrifice fly.

Six UNF pitchers finished the game with a combined eight walks and three hit batters, while USF freshman Matt Quevedo pitched a complete game, giving the Bulls a 5-1 win at Red McEwen Field.

“If you have a chance to blow them out early in the game and you don’t do it, you leave them in the game,” Prado said. “A couple hits there and this game is way out of reach early, so we’ve got to do a better job of that, but we got a win. That’s all I care about.”

USF’s first hit came in the third inning when junior Brandin Daniel hit a two-run home run, giving the Bulls a 3-0 lead. Junior Dexter Butler accounted for the next two runs with a pair of RBI singles in the fifth and seventh innings, respectively.

USF finished the game with six hits, and Butler was the only Bull with more than one hit.

“We’re playing better, (but) we’ve got to get the bats going,” said Prado, whose Bulls are averaging just 6.25 hits the past four games. “We’ve got to get the bats going for this weekend, and hopefully we’ll do that.”

After junior center fielder Joey Angelberger hit 1-for-11 during USF’s three-game series against Pittsburgh last weekend, he didn’t start Tuesday for just the second time this season. Junior Josh LeRoy, USF’s starter in right field for 15 games, also didn’t start.

“(Our lack of hitting) is a major concern,” Prado said. “That’s why we let some other guys play. I’ve said it all along, guys like Angelberger and LeRoy (have to hit better) – not only those two – we’ve got a bunch of guys struggling right now, so we’ve got to get their butts going, so they can help us along the way.”

Prado may not have been satisfied with his batters, but North Florida (10-15, 1-2) never really threatened the Bulls, and Quevedo’s seven strikeouts and one walk were key contributors.

“He pitched an awesome game,” third baseman Addison Maruszak said. “If any scouts were watching, he barely misses spots at all, if any. When you see (catcher Braulio) Pardo catching the ball, it goes right where his glove is almost every time.”

Quevedo, who improved his record to 2-0 and lowered his ERA to 3.48 while pitching a complete game in his fourth career collegiate start, said he was told to follow around USF’s Friday night starter Danny Otero from the beginning of the season.

Quevedo called Otero a “mastermind of pitching.”

“He’s learning a lot from Danny Otero, and I think he’s going to be that kind of pitcher,” Prado said. “We expect a lot of great things out of him, and the more he wins, the more confidence he gets.”

Along with Quevedo’s strong performance, Prado was pleased with the Bulls’ fielding, which didn’t commit an error against the Ospreys.

“I felt that everybody played good defensively today,” shortstop Walter Diaz said. “We’re starting to get comfortable in the positions we’re playing. In the beginning (of the season) we were a little nervous, but I feel that we’re all coming together as a team.”