Tie halts sweep of Wagner

Pitcher Brandon Lawson gave up only one earned run, but was pulled after 3 1/3 innings. ORACLE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

USF nearly completed a sweep of Wagner, but Sunday’s finale ended in a 4-all tie after 11 innings because of travel day constraints. 

“Let’s keep it honest — we didn’t deserve to win,” coach Mark Kingston said Sunday. “You make that many errors, you make mistakes on the bases, you don’t get bunts down, you don’t deserve to win.”

The Bulls (4-2-1) committed six errors and left 12 runners on base — six were left in the final three innings, when the Bulls had the chance to walk off. 

“We come out of here with — not a loss, but it feels like a loss,” Kingston said. “We had plenty of opportunities to get the winning run in, but we didn’t take advantage of it.”

A Bulls’ win would have completed the sweep after they won 12-1 Friday and 9-2 Saturday. 

Trailing 3-2 in the eighth inning Sunday, designated hitter Luke Borders hit a two-out, two-run homer to left-center to score his brother Levi, who had singled.

The Seahawks (0-2-1) tied the game at four in unusual fashion. With two strikes, two outs and runners on the corners, pitcher Michael Farley walked a batter on a wild pitch. Shortstop Nick Mascelli then scored on a throwing error at the plate. 

For the final out, Farley tagged out third baseman Nick Dini in his attempt to score the game-winning run on the error.

USF starter Brandon Lawson allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits through 3 1/3 innings before freshman pitcher Joe Cavallaro took over. Cavallaro fanned five and gave up two runs (one earned) in five innings of relief.

“Once again, a freshman is stepping up,” Kingston said of Cavallaro. “He gave us everything we needed him to give us. We should have won the game for him.”

Left fielder Kevin Merrell is another freshman who has shown promise. Merrell went 6-for-12 with five runs in the series.

Big innings in Friday and Saturday’s games propelled the Bulls to comfortable victories.

In Saturday’s game, starter Casey Mulholland (1-1) surrendered one run in the first, but the Bulls responded with five runs in the bottom frame. Both teams were held scoreless until the fifth inning, when Levi Borders added to the Bulls’ lead with a solo blast to left.

Wagner posted another run, but the Bulls scored another three to secure the victory.

In Friday’s game, a six-run fifth inning cushioned the Bulls’ 6-0 lead in their 12-1 win.

“I just thought we played good fundamental baseball, starting with Jimmy (Herget) to set the tone with a dominant performance,” Kingston said Friday. “He had great defense behind him as well.”

Herget (1-0) pitched 5 2/3 innings of perfect baseball before surrendering a single. The junior struck out 10 over 7 2/3 innings. 

USF hosts FGCU on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.