USF junior pitcher Matt Quevedo salvaged the series and alleviated what could’ve been a very disappointing return home from Storrs, Conn, this weekend.
In his first start of the year, Quevedo gave up one run in six innings while striking out five, and USF avoided a three-game sweep, beating Connecticut 5-2 in the series finale Saturday.
“I felt good,” Quevedo said. “It’s just like any other time I’ve gone out there to pitch. If you get called to go in, you go in there and try and do your best.”
Quevedo, who’s made several relief appearances this season, replaced the injured Derrick Stultz.
Quevedo’s performance couldn’t have come at a better time, said Bulls’ coach Lelo Prado.
“It’s definitely a big plus for the team, especially if the other guys don’t come back soon,” he said. “That’s a great No. 2 guy.”
Prado said he expects Stultz to return to action next week, however.
After dropping the first two games of the series, Quevedo, who is 4-0 with a 3.24 ERA this season, said the team remained confident.
“When you lose two games like that, you have to come out and play the third game like you can’t lose,” he said. “We had our backs against the wall a little bit, but we stayed positive.”
With the Bulls leading 3-2 in the ninth, sophomore Jon Koscso began the inning with a solo home run to extend the lead to 4-2. USF tacked on another run and Shawn Sanford pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, picking up his third save of the year.
“Quevedo pitched a great game. We got key hits when we needed them and we’re leaving here 4-2 (in conference play),” Prado said. “That’s the only thing that matters. We just have to move forward, keep grinding and go from here.”
Because of forecasts for rain Sunday, the Bulls played a doubleheader Saturday, losing the early game 12-5. USF (15-10, 4-2) lost 2-0 in a pitcher’s duel in Friday’s opener.
On Friday, USF’s Randy Fontanez pitched his second complete game, and UConn starter John Folino pitched 7 2/3 innings without giving up a run and struck out 10.
“You better bring it every weekend,” Prado said. “I don’t know how (UConn) lost three games last week. They’ve got some great arms. That team is going to beat a lot of teams. I told (our team) that before we got here. I don’t know if they believed me.”
USF hosts FAU at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Red McEwen Field.