Looking for revenge in Fort Myers

BASEBALL GAME TIMEUSF (11-10, 3-3) at FGCU (19-5, 9-0)When: Tonight, 6Where: Swanson StadiumTV/Radio: 1010 AM

The South Florida baseball team (11-10, 3-3) has lost five of its last six games, so Bulls’ coach Lelo Prado is shaking things up defensively for tonight’s game against the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles.

The Bulls committed four errors Saturday night against Cincinnati, which proved costly in a one-run loss.

Addison Maruszak – who played shortstop during every game this season – will shift to second base. Former second baseman Jonathan Koscso will take over at shortstop.

“This is a switch we were working at during practice yesterday, and Maruszak looked good at second,” Prado said. “Hopefully this switch will make us stronger defensively.”

The Bulls played FGCU in Tampa on March 4, when the Eagles took home a 5-4 victory against a team that was struggling.

It’s been three weeks since that game, and the two teams face very contrasting realities coming into tonight’s game.

The Eagles are soaring at 19-5 overall and are winners of four straight games, having just completed a three-game sweep of Mercer at home this past weekend.

FGCU is currently averaging 12 runs a game and is 9-0 in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

USF, however, has the same offensive problems that it had three weeks ago.

Advancing runners in scoring position was a big problem for the Bulls then, and it continues to be one now. Whether it’s advancing the runner on first with a simple sacrifice bunt or getting the runner home from third base with less than two outs, USF doesn’t seem to be able to manufacture its runs.

“Guys have to step up. (designated hitter/right fielder Brian) Hobbs is supposed to be our RBI guy, but he is struggling right now. We need him,” Prado said.

Last week against Oklahoma, USF was down 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Hobbs was at the plate with the tying run at second, but popped out to end the game.

“I can’t ask the freshmen to do it all,” Prado said. “Trey Manz has to be more consistent, and Chris Rey also has to contribute for the team. (Brandon) Smith, (Ryan) Lockwood and Maruszak, the team’s top of the order, are leading the team in almost every offensive category, but that won’t mean anything if we don’t have somebody to drive them in,” Prado said.

Lockwood leads the team in hits (30), runs (19) and RBIs (18), and is second on the squad in batting average (.366). Smith holds the team’s best batting average (.383) along with the top on-base percentage (.542) and walks drawn (13).

Meanwhile, Maruszak is batting .329 and has 13 RBIs this season.