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Bulls win third straight behind potent offense

The Bulls’ bats are getting hot at just the right time.

The team that struggled to produce runs early in the season seems to have gained its confidence back, scoring 28 runs in its last three games, including a 10-7 victory at home Tuesday night against North Florida (11-11).

“We got off to a slow start this year, but we’ve put that behind us,” said junior Jonathan Koscso, who was one of five Bulls with two hits in the game.

USF (8-13) racked up 13 hits after a 14-hit performance on Sunday in a 13-4 win against Mercer.

After UNF took an early 3-0 lead in the first, USF rallied in the bottom of the inning, scoring four runs to take a 4-3 lead.

“It was a frustrating first inning for me,” said lefty Teddy Kaufman, who won his third straight. “To answer back with four runs in the first inning … that totally settled me down.”

USF, which has won three straight games, has found its groove at the right time, said Koscso, who will lead the Bulls into their first Big East series this season against Notre Dame at home this weekend.

“We’re still going into the Big East conference confident that we’re going to win it,” Koscso said of USF, which was picked to finish second in the conference. “We know we’re not a big power-hitting club. We’re not going to hit five home runs a game. We have to play small ball and keep being aggressive on the bases.”

Kaufman, who was named Big East Player of the Week last week after his complete-game shutout against UCF, didn’t replicate his previous performance, but was effective nonetheless, striking out eight in six innings while giving up three earned runs.

“I wasn’t feeling so great today, but the defense made some great plays and hooked me up,” Kaufman said.

Outfielder Junior Carlin said the Bulls are playing like a hungry team.

“We feel like we’re playing with a chip on our shoulder,” said Carlin, who went 2-for-4 with three RBI. “…We know we’re a good enough team to compete with any team in the nation. We take every game very seriously now, like it’s our last game.”