Bull take series in Philadelphia

The USF baseball team’s hopes of a three-game sweep over Villanova were cut short by a Wildcats’ comeback in the eighth inning of the series finale.

Starting pitching helped the Bulls sweep Saturday’s doubleheader by scores of 7-1 and 10-1, before losing Sunday 4-3 at the Villanova Ballpark in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

Bad weather in the area forced the postponement of the series opener, which was scheduled for Friday, leading USF to run some peculiar practices to pass the time.

The Bulls stayed loose by playing a pick-up football game in Villanova’s football stadium Friday. Coach Lelo Prado served as quarterback, while freshman outfielder James Ramsay led the team with one interception. The day before, USF held a light workout in The Pavilion, the home arena of Villanova’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. Video of both practices is available at usfbaseball.tumblr.com.

Back on the baseball diamond Saturday, senior right-hander Randy Fontanez dominated the first game, pitching eight innings and allowing just one earned run. He surrendered five hits and struck out three Wildcats to improve to 3-2 on the season.

Senior right-handed pitcher Kyle Eastham got the start in the second game and matched Fontanez’s performance. He went seven innings, allowing four hits and one earned run while striking out four. Eastham also improved his record to 3-2.

USF scored in the first and second innings Sunday to take a quick 3-0 lead, which lasted until the sixth inning, thanks in part to junior left-hander Matt Reed’s pitching performance. Reed nearly matched the efforts of Fontanez and Eastham by pitching five shutout innings before being tagged for two runs in the sixth inning.

Reed’s replacement, junior reliever Andrew Loynaz, finished the sixth inning without surrendering a hit. Senior Junior Carlin made his first relief appearance since March 15 and used 15 pitches to finish a scoreless seventh inning.

Senior closer Kevin Quackenbush was brought in for the eighth inning to protect a 3-2 USF lead, but blew the save by allowing two runs. Quackenbush, who has five saves in USF’s 12 wins, fell to 0-2.

The Bulls close their road trip with games against Jacksonville on Tuesday and Wednesday night before returning home for a weekend series against Rutgers.