Bulls’ season comes to an end

Exiting the Big East tournament in disappointing fashion after losses to Rutgers and UConn, the USF baseball team will be losing nine seniors, including Alex Mendez, Jimmy Falla, Joey Lovecchio and Anthony Diaz, going into next season.

After leading 7-0 in the top of the fifth inning against UConn, USF allowed six runs in the same inning and couldn’t hold the lead in the second round of the Big East tournament.

Tied 7-7 in the bottom of the ninth inning with bases loaded, Huskies’ Stanley Paul scored on a wild pitch thrown to give No. 11 seeded UConn an 8-7 walk-off victory last week.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jordan Strittmatter was credited with the loss.

Mendez led USF with two hits out of four at bats along with two RBIs and one run, followed by Falla, who also went 2-of-4 with two RBIs.

The Bulls got off to a start with 2-0 into the fourth inning before scoring four runs in the inning and a run in the fifth to take a
7-0 lead. Mendez hit a two-run double before James Ramsay and Falla added an RBI double.

After losing to Rutgers in the regular season finale at home, USF avenged its defeat in the first round of the Big East tournament.

In a game that was pushed back to a 10:15 p.m. start time because of extra innings in the preceding Louisville-Connecticut game, the Bulls rolled through the Scarlet Knights with a 5-2 victory. Big East Rookie of the Year Jimmy Herget had a solid performance, pitching 7.2 innings, allowing five hits and one earned run in the top of the second inning along with four strikeouts.

Senior catcher Chris Norton’s RBI double in the fourth tied the game at 1-1, then the Bulls took the lead in the following inning, scoring three runs and another one in the seventh to take a 5-1 lead. Rutgers scored another run in the final inning.

The teams faced each other again in the elimination round, where the Scarlet Knights eliminated the Bulls with a 2-1 victory.

Rutgers got the game going with a run in the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead before the Bulls tied the game with a RBI single by Blake Sydeski in the next inning. Then, in the same inning, Rutgers regained the lead.

USF attempted a comeback with Mendez hitting a leadoff single in the ninth and moved to second after Ramsay’s sacrifice bunt, but Rutgers held the Bulls with Nathaniel Roe grounding out to end the game.

With their season over and the seniors gone, the Bulls can look forward to next season with players such as Kyle Teaf, Ramsay and Herget returning.