Teaf’s late sac fly lifts Bulls over Panthers

Kyle Teaf, who is currently riding a 21-game on-base streak, knocked in the winning run against FIU on a sacrifice fly to left field Wednesday. ORACLE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

Shortstop Kyle Teaf reached base in all of his at-bats — except in the eighth when his sacrifice fly lifted USF over FIU for a 4-3 victory Wednesday night at the USF Baseball Stadium. 

The Bulls (15-6-1), who are on a nine-game winning streak, surrendered a three-run lead in the eighth.

Tied at three, third baseman Zac Gilcrease worked a one-out walk. He advanced to second on an error and to third on a failed pickoff attempt with Teaf at the plate. 

“They brought the infield in on me,” Teaf said. “I was trying to get a pitch that was up that I could elevate to get to the outfield. I fought off a good pitch — a change-up or something, and then I got the fastball I wanted and put a good swing on it.”

FIU outfielder Jack Schaaf ran down the ball and caught it deep down the left-field line before Gilcrease tagged up and ran home.

In addition to that game-winning RBI, Teaf went 2-for-2 with two walks, a double and a run. The junior is on an 11-game hitting streak and a 21-game on-base streak.

Teaf seems to have found his swing as the season progresses.

“The approach never changes,” he said. “I was a little uncomfortable, trying to do a little bit too much in the beginning of the season. I’m just going back to being comfortable and doing what feels good.”

Right fielder Luke Maglich also seemed comfortable at the plate, and went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, a double and a home run.

The Bulls have nine home runs on the season, which equals the amount they totaled last year. 

“Coaches tweak some of the guys’ swings just a tiny bit,” Teaf said. “Guys are confident at the plate, taking good swings, good hard cuts at pitches they would normally lay off or take. They’re putting good, powerful swings on pitches and producing for us.”

After leading off the eighth with a home run, the Panthers (9-12) loaded the bases with a single, an error and a walk. They scored on a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly to tie the game at three.

Tommy Peterson (1-1) earned the win after pitching two shutout innings. The right-hander took the mound with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth to relieve Jordan Strittmatter.

“We battled,” coach Mark Kingston said. “Our defense was a little sloppy there in the eighth, but for the most part, our defense was good, and we got a few key hits. That was the key.”

The Bulls travel to play Illinois (15-4-1) for a three-game series beginning Friday at 5 p.m.