Bulls find offense, pick up road win

It turns out all USF needed to cure its offensive woes was a good, long talk.

At least that’s what coach Lelo Prado gave the Bulls (17-19) — who only scored two runs in their previous two games — who used it to soar to a 9-3 road victory against Stetson (20-19) on Tuesday night.

“We had a good, long talk before the game and they responded,” Prado said.

USF cashed in early, scoring two runs in the first, one in the second, one in the third and two in the fifth. It also took advantage of opportunities on base, picking up steal six bases.

Three of the runs were unearned, as USF capitalized on Stetson’s four errors.

“I (thought) it was an outstanding bounce-back effort,” said junior right fielder Stephen Hunt, who went 4-for-6 with three runs scored and stole a base. “There’s nothing we can do about this past weekend.”

After suffering a three-game sweep at Rutgers over the weekend, USF showed no signs of an early week hangover. The Bulls out-hit the Hatters 15-5, and all but two players had at least one hit. Four had two or more hits.

Sophomore first baseman Todd Brazeal chipped in with three hits, two RBI and one run scored. He doubled in the three-run ninth that sealed the game.  

“Everybody contributed, and that’s exactly what we needed,” Brazeal said. “We knew as a team, the only way to get out of the funk (was) to just have fun.”

Hunt increased his team-leading batting average to .338 with the performance. He now leads the team in nearly every offensive category: hits, runs, RBI, home runs and slugging percentage.

“He’s coming to the ballpark ready to play,” Prado said. “He’s been a real bright-spot in this lineup.”

Sophomore Matt Reed pitched six solid innings, giving up one run on two hits while striking out one and walking two in his first start this season.

“We needed a guy to step up for us and (Reed) was outstanding,” Hunt said. “He worked quick and helped the tempo on defense.”

USF is now 1-1 against Stetson this season.