The USF baseball team clung to a one-run lead Tuesday night in Fort Myers. It was one out away from a victory over Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), a team that had handed USF a loss at home exactly one month prior.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Michael Farley had just walked a batter to load the bases when the count ran full. The sophomore sent the payoff pitch to catcher Levi Borders, who caught it for the third and final strike.
Farley picked up his second win, an 8-7 nail-biter, to build some momentum for the Bulls as they enter conference play this weekend.
USF (17-8-1) hosts Cincinnati (6-16) for a three-game series, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Farley, who tossed 1 2/3 of one-hit baseball, will likely be called from the bullpen this weekend, as he has shown a degree of reliability.
The Florida native holds a 0.90 ERA after allowing two earned runs over 20 innings. In the AAC, he ranks second in appearances with 12, behind USF’s Tommy Peterson, who has 13.
Farley has taken strides since last season. Last year at this time, he had allowed 11 earned runs through 27 2/3 innings, giving him a 3.58 ERA. He also held a 1-3 record with 24 strikeouts and eight walks.
He currently has just as many strikeouts.
Collectively, USF boasts an ERA of 3.75, while Cincinnati has one of 6.46.
Offensively, three Bearcats average over .300. Center fielder Ian Happ, who has started all 22 games, is batting .418, and catcher Woody Wallace, who has started 12, is batting .320.
The Bearcats are 5-2 at home and have yet to win an away game. USF is the third stop on their nine-game road trip, and Cincinnati has dropped all five games leading up to it. The Bearcats have been outscored 47-23 in that span.
The Bulls finished 2-2 on their last road trip with wins against No. 18 Illinois and FGCU. They’ll carry a two-game winning streak into conference play Friday.