Bulls bounce Knights
The Bulls continue to light up the scoreboard.
USF hit three home runs, including back-to-back home runs in the seventh, and routed
UCF 13-5 on Wednesday night in Orlando to sweep the two-game series.
USF had three home runs in its previous 11 games.
“We had great approaches at the plate tonight,” said Bulls coach Lelo Prado. “Guys were on it. Today we came out focused and took care of business.”
Redshirt freshman Andrew Longley had four hits in five at-bats, including his first career home run, four RBIs and four runs scored in his second collegiate start.
“It doesn’t matter what nine (players) play — the bottom line is, at the end of the day we win,” Prado said. “Longley got the call today, stepped up and did his job.”
Longley and freshman Sam Mende hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh. Mende scored for the second night in a row.
“Everything fell into place tonight,” Longley said. “Everyone did their job. We saw some pretty good pitches.”
The Bulls jumped on the Knights early, scoring three in the top of the first. Sophomore Ryan Lockwood scored on a wild pitch, and sophomore Junior Carlin hit a two-run single later that inning to put the Bulls up 3-0.
USF poured it on with another run in the second inning and four more in the third, including a two-run triple by Longley. Sophomore Stephen Hunt, who missed last weekend’s series against Marshall with a hand injury, hit a solo home run in the fourth to give the Bulls a 9-0 advantage.
Freshman pitcher Matt Reed fared well in his first collegiate start, giving up one earned run in five innings.
“(Reed) throws great and gets ahead,” Prado said. “It was a great start. I think he’s going to have a great career here.”
Prado said his team’s recent power surge is a matter of timing.
“We’re not a home run-hitting club,” Prado said. “We’ll eventually hit some — and these guys are on the ball right now. We could’ve fallen apart after that loss last weekend, but the guys have been playing together.”
USF gave up a five-run seventh inning lead to fall to Marshall on March 8.
The Bulls have won five of their last six games while scoring six runs or more in six straight.
The Bulls host Eastern Illinois, Oklahoma and Bethune-Cookman in the Bulls Baseball Classic this weekend, starting Friday at 3 p.m.