Prado’s decision helps USF win two

After Thursday’s 3-1 defeat to Boston College, USF coach Lelo Prado tweaked his lineup in hopes of more offensive productivity — and it worked.

The Bulls scored 13 runs against Samford on Friday and put up 15 runs against Towson on Saturday, leaving the FGCU Classic with a 2-2 record.

“Why shouldn’t the other guys get an opportunity, too?” Prado said. “It’s not like we were 6-0 with the lineup we had. (Baseball) is all about opportunities.”

On Friday, Prado moved sophomore outfielder Ryan Lockwood from third to second in the batting order and sophomore Jon Koscso from second to third. Redshirt freshman Todd Brazeal started at first base Saturday and Sunday in place of the struggling
Brandon Smith.

With Lockwood also struggling at the plate, sophomore Junior Carlin started at center field in Sunday’s 15-9 win over Towson. He finished with a 5-for-5 performance, tallying two runs and three RBI.

“I don’t know what to say,” Carlin said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling. I never thought I’d be able to do this — I’d be happy with two hits.”

Brazeal also made the most of his opportunity, going 6-for-11 in the tournament. Brazeal leads the team in batting this year with nine hits.

“Those guys bring a lot of energy to the ballpark,” Prado said. “They’ve earned the right to play. If those guys keep playing well and guys like Lockwood and Smith start catching fire, it helps me give guys days off and helps us become a better team with everyone clicking.”

During Friday’s offensive improvement, senior catcher Trey Manz hit the team’s first home run of the year and finished with four RBI to lift the Bulls to a 13-8 win over Samford.

Junior left fielder Chris Rey connected for a home run in Sunday’s win, finishing with three hits and four RBI.

But the bats weren’t working Friday when sophomore Randy Fontanez gave up three runs in eight innings in a loss to Boston College.

“I apologize once again to (Fontanez),” Prado said. “He should be 2-0 with the way he’s pitched.”

Prado also said he’s hoping the Bulls can turn around a sluggish start to the season.

“It’s still very disappointing coming out of this tournament being 2-2,” Prado said. “I’m disappointed that we’re 3-4. We’ve got a week to work on some things, get on the right track and hopefully put together a streak.”

The Bulls will host three games against Marshall next weekend at Red McEwen field, beginning Friday at 7 p.m.