Rally Snowman brings Bulls’ offense to life

Senior Buddy Putnam added his team-leading seventh home run in the Bulls’ 9-6 win Thursday. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

Nearly two hours before the Bulls took the field in snowy Storrs, Connecticut on Thursday, pitcher Casey Mulholland tweeted a picture of a three-layered snowman.

The caption read: “Rally Snowman!? #GoBulls

Rally Snowman, who sported a green-and-gold baseball cap, would later be crowned MVP in two of three games against UConn (19-11, 3-3). 

The Bulls (22-10-1, 5-1) rallied late to win Thursday and Saturday, winning the series to remain atop the AAC standings. 

Composed of dirty snow and stick arms, Rally Snowman stood near the Bulls’ dugout at J.O. Christian Field. 

The Bulls trailed 6-3, and when it came time to rally in the top of the eighth, Buddy Putnam came in clutch. Before Putnam hit his seventh home run, a three-run jack to right field, Luke Borders drove in Kevin Merrell, who had reached on a two-out walk.

USF tacked on another two runs in the ninth to ultimately win 9-6. 

Rally Snowman melted after the first game, but his short-lived presence made a lasting impression.

Capitalizing on two walks, two errors and a wild pitch, the Bulls scored four runs in the ninth inning to take an 8-5 advantage Saturday.

The Huskies tallied a run in the bottom frame, but the Bulls held on for an 8-6 victory.

The Bulls’ offense seemed too much to handle for UConn reliever Patrick Ruotolo (2-2, 4.50 ERA). The right-hander took the loss Thursday and Saturday, surrendering a total of 10 runs (seven earned) through three innings.

Friday’s game was the only one played at a different ballpark. The Bulls were shut out for the first time this season at the New England Baseball Complex in Northborough, Massachusetts. 

Superstitions and baseball often go hand-in-hand, so maybe the loss had something to do with Rally Snowman.

Or maybe it had something to do with UConn starter Anthony Kay. 

The latter is probably more likely. 

Kay (4-3) leads the AAC with a 1.17 ERA and .174 opposing batting average. The left-hander also ranks third with 57 strikeouts behind teammate Carson Cross (73) and USF ace Jimmy Herget (63).

The Bulls lost 7-0 behind Mulholland (3-4), who allowed six runs (four earned) over six innings.

Rally Snowman won’t be of much use anymore, as the Bulls return to sunny Florida to conclude their five-game road trip. USF heads to Miami, where it will face FIU (14-19) on Tuesday at 6 p.m.