When USF and Stetson met earlier in the month, the Bulls (20-15) dropped both games in DeLand. Tonight, the Bulls have a chance for redemption at home, as the teams are scheduled to square off at 7.
“Definitely got to come out with a little chip on your shoulder — they beat us twice,” USF utility player Buddy Putnam said. “They just outplayed us for two straight games, so there’s definitely a little extra juice wanting to beat them.”
USF lost the first game 6-3 and the second game 2-1, as the Bulls were unable to get their offense going at the right times. They left nine runners on base in each game, including leaving the bases loaded twice in the second one.
Austin Lueck and Lawrence Pardo were the only Bulls with multi-hit performances in Game 1. Lueck went 3-for-4 with a double, walk and RBI, while Pardo, who started on the mound, went 2-for-4 with a run as the designated hitter.
In Game 2, Pardo and Nik Alfonso were the only Bulls to single, while Vincent Miniet and Luke Borders each doubled.
Stats aside, the Bulls are working on getting back to basics.
“Coach (Chris) Heintz has really been preaching to get away from being so results oriented and just go back to the process,” Putnam said.
USF’s recent struggles include dropping seven of its last 10 games, prior to taking two of three from Temple this weekend.
“We’re kind of in a team-wide slump, but we’re still managing to win games,” Putnam said. “That says a lot about what kind of team we are, what kind of coaching staff we have. When we bust out of it, get the bats rolling and get the entire staff clicking on all cylinders, I think we’re going to be a really scary team. Even as we are now, I don’t think anyone would want to play us.”
The Bulls won their sixth three-game series of the year, as they won Sunday’s rubber game 6-3 at Temple’s ballpark in Camden.
Kyle Teaf made the AAC Honor Roll this week after going 6-for-10 with five walks, five runs and two RBIs in the series.
Stetson is also coming off an away series. The Hatters were in Georgia, where they lost two-of-three to Kennesaw State, dropping the third game 9-8.
Catcher Garrett Russini was the hottest hitter for the Hatters, going 5-for-12 with a run, three RBIs and a home run.
The Hatters have shown dominance in the past, but Putnam said the Bulls are focusing on making the most of the present.
“Going into the game we just have to play hard, play smart and just go out there with a quality approach and force them to work for all 27 outs,” he said.
After hosting Stetson, the Bulls will take to the road for a three-game series in Houston