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Bulls fall to the Cowboys

Oklahoma St. 7, USF 2

The USF baseball team (2-2) couldn’t get anything going on offense and struggled defensively in a 7-2 loss to No. 21 Oklahoma State (5-0) Cowboys, the second straight loss for USF.

It looked as if it was going to be a pitchers’ duel through the first three innings, as aces Daniel Thomas and Andrew Oliver displayed their power.

USF’s Thomas looked strong in the early innings, throwing 33 pitches that resulted in four ground ball outs and four strikeouts. In the top of the second inning, the Bulls got their first double play of the season, courtesy of Cowboys’ leadoff hitter Michael Dabbs.

Oliver was just as strong, throwing 35 pitches and getting timely outs. With the Bulls threatening to take the lead in the first inning with runners on first and second and two outs, Oliver made Brian Hobbs pop out and struck out catcher Trey Manz to end the threat.

Everything changed between the fourth and the sixth inning. Thomas lost the strike zone, threw 53 pitches, and the Cowboys scored seven runs, every one of them with two outs, taking commanding 7-0 lead.

Thomas (0-1) pitched five innings, giving up four earned runs and striking out a season-high eight.

Neither Thomas nor relief pitcher Michael Anzivino could get a third strike, as Oklahoma State batted in five runs while facing a two-strike, two-out situation.

Cowboys shortstop Jordy Mercer had a lot to do with that. He went 3-for-5 with a solo home run, a single and a double.

“My confidence rose after the homerun (that gave Oklahoma State the lead). It jump started the night for me and everything slowed down for me after that,” Mercer said.

The Cowboys took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning with three hits. Thomas also walked and hit a batter.

The Bulls got two runs in the seventh inning after the bottom of the order – hitters six through nine – got two doubles and a single to breathe some life into a stagnant offense that is averaging just four runs a game.

Hitters one through four struggled against the Cowboys’ pitching. Lockwood, Consolmagno, Maruszak and Hobbs went a combined 3-for-16 and struck out six times. They went 0-for-13 after the first inning.

“Everybody has to contribute if we want to be a good team. We need to start hitting when the game is 0-0, not when we are already down 7-0.

“D.T threw well tonight, but this is still unacceptable, we need to beat good teams,” USF coach Lelo Prado said.