Longleys bat helps USF knock off Miami

Reserve catcher Andrew Longley came into Tuesday’s matchup with Miami batting just .133 with two hits to his name.

But it was Longley’s bat that made the difference as USF knocked off No. 24 Miami 4-2 in the Florida Four at Steinbrenner Field.

Having matched his season-long hit total with singles in the first and seventh innings, Longley stepped up to the plate in a key situation and delivered. With Sam Mende standing on third base, Todd Brazeal on second and James Ramsay on first, Longley dropped a 2-2 pitch into shallow center field, allowing Mende and Brazeal to score.

“Right before the at-bat, (coach Lelo) Prado told me to relax and not try to do too much. He knows we all want to be that guy. It was my opportunity today, and I came through,” Longley said. “It’s amazing because I’ve been waiting to break out.”

USF (2-5) starting pitcher Matt Reed, making his first start of the season, went seven full innings, allowing the bullpen to rest after USF was forced to use nine pitchers in a 16-inning game just two days prior.

Reed allowed just four hits in the game and held the Hurricanes (4-4) scoreless until the top of the seventh inning, when Miami designated hitter David Villasuso hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field.

“It was a blessing to be able to pitch against this team,” Reed said. “I don’t take into account who (the opponent) is, they’re just another team trying to beat me. Our team played defense all nine innings and gave us a chance to win.”

Reed got a no-decision in the game because USF reliever Jimmy Moran allowed the Hurricanes to tie the game in the eighth inning. Moran (1-0) was credited with the win.

“I don’t even care that I didn’t get the win” Reed said. “As long as the team wins, it doesn’t matter.”

The Bulls offense was hot early, scoring one run in both the second and third innings, giving Reed a 2-0 cushion.

Ramsay, a freshman right fielder who entered the game batting a dismal .154, went 3-for-4 on the day, including an RBI single to right field in the second.

Third baseman Jonathan Koscso scored the second run when Todd Brazeal grounded out to second base in the third inning.

Miami, which has an NCAA-record 38 consecutive postseason appearances, handed USF two lopsided defeats last season. The Hurricanes dropped the Bulls 15-2 in last year’s Florida Four before beating them 14-7 in Coral Gables.

“To beat a program like the University of Miami and really outplay them the whole game, I’m just really proud of our guys,” Prado said. “A win like this, you’ve gotta feel good about it leaving here. Last year, we were embarrassed here, and we didn’t want to be embarrassed this year.”

The Bulls host a three-game series against Florida A&M beginning Friday night.