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Baseball enters Big East play

BASEBALL GAME TIMESavannah St. (5-2) at USF (3-5)When: Today, 7Where: Red McEwen FieldTV/Radio: 1010 AM

The USF baseball team (3-5) is in the midst of a three-game losing streak, and will start a 10-game home stand featuring a three-game series against the Savannah State Tigers this weekend. The Bulls then play two games on consecutive days against the University of North Florida Ospreys and the Florida Atlantic Owls. Next is the opening of Big East play in three games against the Seton Hall Tigers next weekend before closing the home stand with two games against the Oklahoma Sooners.

Savannah State (5-2), an independent conference university from Savannah, Ga., is a high-risk, high-reward team. The Tigers average 9.4 runs a game while allowing an average of 7.1 runs. The Tigers scored 10 or more runs in four of their seven games this season and put up 20 runs against Florida A&M University on Sunday.

The Bulls have averaged just 4.5 runs a game and allowed five or more runs in seven of their eight games, posting a 5.47 team earned run average.

“The team is a little down right now (because of the slow start), but I’m sure we will be a good baseball team at the end of the season,” USF coach Lelo Prado said. “(Ryan) Lockwood and (Brandon) Smith are hitting really well. We just have to be patient and get it together.”

The Seton Hall Pirates will be at Red McEwen Field on March 14-16 for a three-game series that begins Big East Conference play.

“Every team in the Big East has great pitching, but I don’t worry about what other teams do. I just focus on my team and what we can do to improve,” Prado said.

The Pirates (3-6) have also struggled to start the season. Their ERA is a decent 4.16, but their lack of run production makes them vulnerable.

Seton Hall is averaging four runs a game and boasts a team batting average of .222, with its bottom of the order hitting 3-for-41.

USF has a team batting average of .252, and Prado said he has no set lineups for the team.