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USF drops series, remains on top

Right fielder Luke Maglich was a consistent offensive threat over the weekend, as he went 7-for-13 with a home run. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

When the two leading teams in the AAC went head-to-head this weekend in Tennessee, Memphis looked to claim dominance in the conference.

USF looked to maintain it. 

The Bulls (26-14-1, 8-4) have ranked first in the standings since conference play began about three weeks ago. USF swept Cincinnati that weekend and went on to take the series against UConn and East Carolina. 

This weekend’s series against Memphis (25-12, 7-5) held a different fate for the Bulls.

USF dropped its first conference series and lost two of three to the Tigers. 

Still, USF remains atop the AAC standings with 15 games left before the conference tournament. 

“It’s like a pennant race in the big leagues,” coach Mark Kingston said. “The last month of the season, (the games are) all important. You have to try and win them all, and keep an eye on the big picture.”

The Bulls took Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader behind Jimmy Herget (7-1), who allowed one earned run over 7 1/3 innings. The Bulls broke open the game with a four-run sixth inning to give them a final lead.

Designated hitter Luke Borders’ momentum from earlier this week carried into the 6-2 win. The sophomore, who went 3-for-3 with a grand slam in Wednesday’s 11-9 win over Stetson, went 3-for-4 with three runs in Game 1.

Casey Mulholland (4-4) tossed the second complete game of his career in Game 2. The senior surrendered four earned runs over eight innings, while striking out 10 and walking one in the 4-1 loss. 

After splitting Friday’s doubleheader, the Bulls outhit the Tigers 14-8, but lost Saturday’s rubber game 6-4. 

Right fielder Luke Maglich was consistent in all three games. The junior went 7-for-13 (.538) with a home run, two doubles and three RBIs. 

USF continues its race for the conference as it hosts Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.