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Hunt, Bulls salvage sweep

Junior Stephen Hunt helped the Bulls avoid another disappointing sweep this season.

After the Bulls dropped the first two games against lowly Eastern Illinois (3-10), Hunt went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI to help USF (4-12) win the final game of a three-game series 8-5 on Sunday afternoon at Red McEwen Field on campus.

“I was glad to be back on the home field. We’ve left a lot of blood and sweat on this field,” Hunt said. The Bulls have moved to play at locations in the Tampa Bay area because of construction to the baseball facility.

After a disappointing start to the season offensively, USF has scored 59 runs in its last six games compared to only 25 in the previous six.

Being back at home ignited an offense that struggled to produce runs consistently during a difficult road schedule to start the season. The Bulls have scored at least six runs in six straight games, five of which were at home. USF split a two-game series against Jacksonville on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“I still feel good about this club. We just got to get things rolling a little bit offensively,” said coach Lelo Prado, who is seeing his team’s worst start since he’s been at USF.

Hunt is now batting .303 and leads the team in RBI (15), runs (17), slugging percentage (.545) and home runs (three). USF didn’t commit an error on defense, an area the team has struggled with throughout most of the season.

Junior right-hander Matt Stull got the win Sunday, going 5 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and three earned runs. He only allowed four hits.

Junior right-hander Kevin Quackenbush recorded his first save of the season. USF will look to keep swinging the bats effectively Tuesday, traveling to Orlando to face UCF (9-7) at 7 p.m.

“We have to find a way to finish out games,” Hunt said. “We’re a tight-knit group. If we come out and play the way we’re capable of playing, we can be the best in the Big East.”