It was Senior Day for the USF baseball team Saturday at the USF stadium as it faced Rutgers in the final game of its three-game, regular season finale.
Unable to keep the momentum going from previous wins, the Bulls (35-20, 17-7) dropped their season finale with a 10-6 loss to the Scarlet Knights(26-28, 13-11).
The loss followed two wins against Rutgers, an 11-4 win Thursday evening and a close 6-5 game Friday.Senior first baseman Jimmy Falla led the way for USF, going 3-for-5 with two runs and one RBI.
The Bulls went through seven pitchers with nonelasting more than two innings ,and allowed 17 hits.USF coach Lelo Prado said his team’s performance in its final game was “poor.”
“We struggled all day,” Prado said. “We didn’t play good defense in certain spots, and when that happens you usually get beat.”
Senior right-handed pitcher Joey Lovecchio, who played two innings, got off to a rough start, allowing three runs in the first two innings — one from a wild pitch, another from John Jennings’ RBI single up the middle and the third from Nick Favatella’s RBIsingle to right field.
The Bulls scored their first run in the second inningwith redshirt freshman Nik Alfonso hitting an RBI single to left field, then scoring another run in the next inning to cut Rutgers’ lead to one.
But the Scarlet Knights were able to bounce back with Jeff Melillo’s solo home run to center field and scoring off Lou Clemente’s double in the fifth inning to lead 5-2 before earning three more runs to lead 8-2 by the seventh inning. They scored another run in the next inning to increase their lead to six.
USF rallied in the eighth inning, scoring three runs on five hits, making it 9-6, but Rutgers scored another run in the final inning. The Bulls won the series with the first two games before losing in the regular season finale.
In the second game, Falla hit his 21st double of theseason, tying him with assistant coach Chris Heintz’s record for seventh for most doubles hit in a season.The Bulls end the season winning nine of their last15 games since their 12-1 loss to Florida on April 23.
“The guys have been playing hard and something special is going on with these 35 guys, and we have to keep it going.” Prado said.
During the season, USF was ranked in the Top 25, peaking at No. 20 before losing three straight games in its series against Seton Hall on the road.
The Bulls will travel to Clearwater on Wednesday for the Big East Championship to face Rutgers in the first round.
“We have two days of practice to get ready,” Prado said. “We have to play a lot better.”
The game is set for 8 p.m. at Bright House Field.