USF drops series to BCU

The USF baseball team will have to wait for its first home series win after stagnant offense and inconsistent pitching led the Bulls into two losses in their weekend set against Bethune-Cookman.

Following a promising start, USF handed over the final two games of the series, losing their first home series two games to one. After winning the opener 8-5, the Bulls (4-3) dropped games two and three 7-3 and 2-0, respectively.

USF’s Joey Lovecchio took the start against his hometown team and got the win for Friday night’s opening game, working five innings and giving up two runs, both coming off the bat of the Wildcats’ David Lee.

The Bulls’ offense broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the fifth, busting open a close game with four runs. USF loaded the bases with no outs, before a sacrifice fly, RBI single and an error from Wildcats catcher Carlos Delgado allowed three runners to cross the plate.

“We had a great offensive approach, and we scored a lot of runs,” coach Lelo Prado said.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, their run scoring from Friday didn’t follow over to the next two games of the series.

USF starter Andrew Barbosa’s return from Tommy John Surgery continued Saturday, though he worked just 2.1 innings while throwing 64 pitches and allowing three runs and four walks. Three other USF relievers combined for five more walks, and Janick Serrallonga allowed three more runs in the seventh inning.

“It’s disappointing after (Friday), coming out and playing a great ball game,” Prado said. “When you walk eight or nine, you are in trouble. We have to play a lot better if we want to be a great team.”

Coming off the 7-3 loss in game two, the Bulls tried to clinch the series Sunday, but weren’t able to recover from a sleepwalking offense, despite strong pitching from southpaw Matt Reed.

Reed worked six innings, allowing just one run while striking out two, and allowing just one walk in his first start of the year. Steven Leasure and Austin Adams combined to finish off the game, allowing just three hits and one run.

Though the Bulls’ arms were sharp, the bats couldn’t connect, as USF managed just five hits and could not get past Wildcats ace Rayan Gonzalez, who entered the game with a 1-0 record and an 0.00 ERA on the season. Gonzalez continued his strong start to the year, allowing three hits in seven innings of work, striking out six Bulls.

Next, the Bulls hit the road for a road test against UCF in Orlando on Tuesday night.