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Sooners stroll into Tampa, leave USF coach unhappy

Oklahoma 6, USF 1

The No. 25 Oklahoma University baseball team played South Florida on Tuesday at Red McEwen Field, where the Sooners took a 1-0 lead in the first inning and never stopped rolling, finishing the night with a 6-1 win.

The loss disappointed USF coach Lelo Prado.

“I don’t have words to describe how disappointed I am,” Prado said.

Prado said a win against a team like Oklahoma could help get the Bulls into the NCAA Tournament later in the season. They’ll have to wait until tomorrow for a chance to get such a quality victory, when the Bulls host the Sooners again in the second game of a two-game series.

“To beat great teams, you got to come ready to play. I don’t know how you can’t come today ready to play,” Prado said.

The starting pitchers for both teams came prepared, however. USF freshman Derrick Stultz pitched six innings, allowing two runs. Oklahoma sophomore Chase Anderson pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing one run.

“Derrick Stultz pitched a great game, and their guy pitched a great game, but I’m just totally disappointed with the way we came out today,” Prado said. “Just awful, awful, awful.”

The Sooners averaged 10 runs a game coming into Tampa, but weather helped the pitchers as a strong breeze blew in from the outfield all night, preventing any home runs.

Prado said there was “no question” about the wind’s effects.

“You know the wind played a factor, which is good for pitchers. You don’t have to worry about mistakes too much,” he said.

The Bulls had a chance to get ahead in the sixth inning, when the bases were loaded with two outs with the score 2-1. The ninth hitter, freshman second baseman Jonathan Koscso, was pulled from the lineup, and senior designated hitter Eric Baumann pinched hit.

He hit the ball high into left field, popping out. The wind appeared to stop the ball dead in its flight.

“Koscso has been struggling, so we put Baumann in,” Prado said. “You know, one swing of the bat, he can change the whole game for us. And he’s aggressive. I took a shot there because if he gets a base hit there, we get on top. Things could have changed a little bit.”

The Sooners didn’t have to knock the ball out of the park. They played small ball for the entire game. When players got on base, they bunted, forcing the Bulls to make the stops.

“That’s the way we’re supposed to play, to be honest with you. If we’re going to be successful, we got to do it that way,” Prado said.