Bulls continue struggles before AAC tournament
The last time USF swept a series was when it was 7-0 at the start of this season. Now, the Bulls sit one game below .500 after getting swept twice in two weeks.
Louisville (40-12, 16-5) handed USF its first sweep in the Bulls’ final home stand, and Rutgers (27-22, 12-8) gave them their second over the weekend in New Jersey.
On Sunday, the sweep by Rutgers was made official by a mercy rule in the seventh inning. USF lost the game by a final score of 12-2.
A mercy rule can only be used in NCAA baseball when a team is on the road on a Sunday and losing by 10 or more runs past the seventh inning.
USF (25-26, 10-14) has dropped eight of its past 11 games. In those losses, the Bulls averaged more than eight runners left on base.
With only three seniors in the lineup, assistant coach Chris Heintz said he thinks youth could be part of the problem.
“I’m hoping it’s the fact that we’re a young lineup,” Heintz said. “Sometimes all it needs is that one person to come through and get a big hit and win the ballgame.”
Despite the hitting woes, there are two Bulls batters who are experiencing success lately. Juniors Kyle Teaf and Austin Lueck lead the Bulls in batting averages.
Teaf, who’s batting .348, is ranked in the AAC top five in batting average, on-base percentage, walks, hits and runs. Lueck, who’s batting .295, had a nine-game hitting streak spanning from April 19 to May 4.
After its recent struggles, USF is now fifth in the AAC standings. The Bulls play four more road games before heading to Clearwater for the AAC Championship, which will begin May 21 at Bright House Field.
“We’re trying to build some momentum before going into the conference tournament,” Heintz said. “That’s where the key to our season lies at this point.”
The Bulls could face the Scarlet Knights again if the standings remain the same, as USF would be the fifth seed and Rutgers would be the fourth.
Complete pairings won’t be announced until May 17, following the completion of the regular season.
USF plays No. 11 Florida (34-18) on Tuesday before ending the regular season this weekend with a three-game series against Georgia Tech (29-23).