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Ponson pitches at Red McEwen Field

USF’s hitters wanted to know what it was like to face an established major league pitcher.

Now they know — and it didn’t faze them.

The USF baseball team scored three first-inning runs off of 11-year MLB veteran Sidney Ponson and tied the Netherlands National Team 4-4 in an exhibition Tuesday night at Red McEwen Field.

“We had some great at-bats today,” said USF coach Lelo Prado.  “Our guys battled. Some of those guys that threw were nasty, and our guys battled hard.  Those are the things we can build on.”

Ponson, who’s expected to pitch in the World Baseball Classic in early March, said he was impressed with the Bulls’ hitting. USF got three runs on five hits in two innings off of Ponson.

“They’re a team with great fundamentals,” he said.  “They hustle, they play hard, the hitters know what they’re doing and they pitch well.  If they keep going out there and playing hard, things will fall in their place.”

Ponson is a free agent but has played for the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles during his major league career. He said it was a good experience to play at Red McEwen Field.

“It doesn’t matter who you play against,” Ponson said.  “A game’s a game.  When you step in between the two white lines, you have to be ready to play. These guys are pretty good.”

The Bulls used six different pitchers in the game, five of whom didn’t allow a run.

“That was our plan,” Prado said.  “Guys that needed to throw threw, and we were able to get everybody plenty of at-bats. I was very happy with the way the game went.”

Senior catcher Trey Manz, senior right fielder Mike Consolmagno and sophomore third baseman Jonathan Koscso each had two hits, and sophomore center fielder Ryan Lockwood added an RBI single in the fourth.

“It was a great outing for us,” Lockwood said, whose 32-game hit streak ended Sunday against Indiana.  “I thought we put some good at bats on Ponson, saw some pitches, worked the counts.  I thought it was a pretty good day for us.”

USF had to use wooden bats against the Dutch. Prado said he was upset they were told they wouldn’t be able to use aluminum bats.

“Thing is, we had only seven wooden bats,” Prado said. “I was shocked we had to use wooden bats.”

The Bulls return to regular season play Thursday, traveling to Fort Myers to play in the FGCU Classic.