Bulls avenge early-season loss

USF 3, Florida Gulf Coast 2

The South Florida baseball team traveled to Swanson Stadium in Fort Myers on Tuesday looking to avenge an early-season loss to the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (18-6).

The game came down to the final inning, with the Bulls (12-10) pulling out a 3-2 win on Addison Maruszak’s go-ahead run. Ryan Lockwood bunted him home in the top of the ninth.

In the bottom of the ninth, closer Shawn Sanford had everyone on the edge of their seats when he walked the first two Eagle batters on nine pitches. He settled down, however, and retired the next three batters to earn the victory and improve his record to 5-0.

The Bulls played small ball, getting nothing but singles, to make up their 10 hits on the day, but in the end they scored when they needed to.

Maruszak had a big game at the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Maruszak was moved to second base for the first time this season and was replaced at shortstop by freshman Jonathan Koscso – who also contributed at the plate with an RBI single in the sixth.

USF coach Lelo Prado liked the way the shift affected his infield.

“Koscso just came out of high school where he played shortstop, and the move shored up the defense,” Prado said. “Maruszak looked more comfortable at second, and that was the reason why he had three hits.”

The game started slowly, going into the fifth inning without either team scoring a run. That changed, however, with Maruszak’s second hit of the day – an RBI single that scored Koscso from second.

The Eagles fired back in the bottom half of the inning, scoring two runs and causing Prado to pull starting pitcher Matt Stull.

Stull turned in a solid performance. Though he wasn’t able to get the win, he pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up two earned runs while striking out five.

The Bulls got a shutout performance out of their bullpen to preserve their victory.

Teddy Kaufman pitched 1 1/3 innings, followed by Zach Pietrzyk, who pitched two solid innings – including the seventh when he retired the side on only five pitches. David Torcise came in and recorded the final out of the eighth.

The Bulls do not have much time to celebrate their win. They travel to Jacksonville tonight to take on the University of North Florida Ospreys (11-10). Kyle Eastham is expected to start for the Bulls.