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Bulls back Lawson after rough start

Junior Brandon lawson gave up four runs earyl, but surrendered only one hit over his next six innings of work.
ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

By the time the ball was finished sailing off the end of USF outfielder Chris Chatfield’s bat, it had cleared not only the outfield wall, but the top of the USF scoreboard.

Chatfield’s third-inning two-run homer, his first as a Bull, put USF ahead for good Saturday night in the Bulls’ 8-4 win over Eastern Michigan University at the USF Baseball Stadium.

“It was a full count and I was just looking for a fastball anywhere down the middle or inside,” Chatfield said. “He gave me an eye-level fastball. I didn’t think I was going to catch up to it, but my bat just ran into it and it went out.”

USF junior pitcher Brandon Lawson surrendered four runs to the Eagles without retiring a single batter, but settled down to give up only one more hit in his six innings of work.

“Obviously giving up four in the first inning, it could have went either way at that point,” USF coach Mark Kingston said. “I thought we saw a more mature Brandon Lawson tonight and that was good. The good thing was we scored some runs to answer right back. I thought that gave him a chance to catch his breath, make an adjustment and get back out there.”

USF (4-2) responded with three runs in the bottom of the first and took a 5-4 lead on Chatfield’s homer.

Kingston again shuffled the lineup around Saturday night, giving freshman Cameron Montgomery his first start and starting freshman Michael Koenig at third base over freshman David Villar.

Montgomery took advantage of the start, knocking three runs in with two outs in the seventh, stretching the USF lead to 8-4.

“We’re trying to figure out different roles, get looks at guys at different spots in the lineup. I thought Duke Stunkel looked very comfortable in the three hole tonight. When Maglich is going, he’ll be a great two-hole hitter because he has speed and he also has power. We’re going to continue to experiment until we find what we think is the best combination.”

The start was Lawson’s first of the season, pitching in place of junior Brad Labozzetta, who has issues multiple walks in his two appearances this season.

Kingston said Lawson’s adjustments after the first inning were enough to grant him another start despite the four earned runs.

USF will aim for a series sweep of Eastern Michigan on Sunday at noon at the USF Baseball Stadium.