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Bulls blown out in AAC Championship opener


For the second time this month, a Bulls baseball game ended in a run-rule as USF was blown out 10-0 by Rutgers in Game 1 of the AAC Championship.

Lelo Prado said he wasn’t pleased with the outcome Wednesday night in one of his last games as a coach of the Bulls. He announced his reassignment Monday from the team to an administrative position for USF Athletics.

“I’m very disappointed in the way we played,” Prado said. “We disappointed our fans.”

Rutgers pounded 15 hits out of four USF pitchers Wednesday night, slimming the Bulls’ chances of the Championship title, but Prado said his announcement hasn’t affected the energy in the dugout.

“I told them from the very beginning this has never been about me,” he said. “It’s about them and the University of South Florida.”

USF (26-30) has little opportunity remaining to send Prado out on a high note.

If Memphis loses to Rutgers on Friday at 11 a.m., USF will be mathematically eliminated from championship contention.

Rutgers (30-23) has won 10 of its last 11 games and five of its last six series, including a sweep over USF two weeks ago.

USF also lost by a run-rule that Sunday.

Though shortstop Kyle Teaf said he wanted to end the season on a high note for Prado after all he has done for the team, the Bulls were outmatched by players such as Rutgers lefty Howie Brey (6-3), who tossed a complete game in that series. Brey tossed 83 pitches for a complete game through seven innings Wednesday.

“(Brey) pitched well against us last time, and we didn’t make the necessary adjustments this time to make a different outcome,” Teaf said.

The game quickly turned sour for the Bulls in the third inning when starter Casey Mulholland (4-3) loaded the bases with one out for Lawrence Pardo, who couldn’t stop the damage as the Scarlet Knights extended their lead to 9-0.

“Every little mistake hurts because we don’t score a lot of runs,” Prado said. “(Mulholland) thinks he has to be perfect. When bad things happen, it messes with the head.”

The Bulls have until Friday to clear their minds of Wednesday’s struggles, and Prado said ace Jimmy Herget will be ready.

“(Herget) always has a chip on his shoulder,” Prado said. “He’s always out to prove somebody wrong. He’s got a lot of things running on the line. He might be a guy that USA Baseball gives a chance. Friday will be a big test for him.”

Herget and the Bulls face the first-seeded Louisville Cardinals (43-13) at Bright House Field in Clearwater on Friday at 3 p.m.