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Bulls squeak by Stetson

South Florida freshman centerfielder Ryan Lockwood went 3-for-4 at the plate with three singles Wednesday and tied the Bulls’ (22-19, 8-10) all-time record of consecutive games with at least one hit as his hitting streak reached 24 games in a 2-1 victory over the Stetson Hatters (22-19, 8-10).

Lockwood – who came into the game with a team-high .377 average – singled up the middle with two outs in the first inning off of sophomore left hander Ian Thompson to tie the record previously held by USF shortstop Walter Diaz, who had a 24-game hitting streak in 2007.

Lockwood refused to comment about the streak. Even as he is hitting over .400 since the streak started, he feels something is off.

“As a team, myself included, I didn’t feel like we had the right approach tonight since we rolled over some balls,” Lockwood said. “I’m getting hits and feeling good at the plate, but my swing isn’t exactly where it needs to be right now.”

Lockwood is also contributing on the basepaths as he scored USF’s two runs with some crafty baserunning. After the single in the first inning, Lockwood scored on a double by right fielder Brian Hobbs. In the sixth inning, he took a lead off first base and provoked a throwing error by Hatters catcher Josh Clendenin that took him to third base and allowed him to score after left fielder Chris Rey got an infield single.

“Pitchers are approaching me the same way as the third hitter in the lineup when I was the leadoff hitter,” Lockwood said. “I’m getting some more RBIs now, but my approach hasn’t changed.”

USF starting pitcher freshman Teddy Kaufman (2-1) matched Thompson pitch-for-pitch in a duel that had the game tied at one until the bottom of the sixth inning. Kaufman, a left-hander, threw just 77 pitches in an efficient 6 2/3 innings, his longest outing of the season.

“(USF pitching coach) Lazer (Collazo) devised a strategy that worked very well for us during the game,” Kaufman said. “They had long swings, so all I needed to do was jam them with my fastball inside and let them make the outs by themselves.”