There was no last-inning comeback for USF this time around.
In their third weekday clash with Stetson of the season, the Hatters blanked the Bulls handily on Wednesday night at the USF Baseball Stadium, winning 6-0.
Following a double-steal and a failed pick-off from Bulls reliever Collin Sullivan, the Hatters grabbed a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning that they wouldn’t relinquish.
On April 11, the Bulls rallied together six runs in the last three innings against the Hatters, leading USF to an improbable 8-6 victory.
Wednesday night however, the Bulls failed to produce at the plate facing both the Hatters No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers, who handed the Bulls their first shutout loss of the season.
“They had good stuff and they threw their best guys,” USF coach Mark Kingston said after the loss. “We just didn’t have good at-bats against them. You have to tip your cap to them.”
The plate wasn’t the only place the Bulls (32-9, 7-5) struggled.
Behind the plate, Bulls catcher Andres Leal allowed back-to-back passed balls with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, allowing the Hatters to extend their lead to five.
Kingston said the passed balls were due to a communication mishap on what the signs were between Leal and freshman pitcher Noah Yager.
In contrast to the Hatters throwing their Friday and Saturday night starters Wednesday night, Kingston called on four freshmen to lead the Bulls on the mound.
“There were just some guys that we wanted to get some work in,” Kingston said on his decision to pitch four freshmen.
Even with the Hatters win on Wednesday, USF still won the regular-season series against Stetson, beating the Hatters once in Tampa and once in DeLand.
Despite Stetson (19-25) striking out 15 Bulls on the night, Kingston said he isn’t worried about his team’s ability at the plate moving forward.
“Overall, I think if we give up six runs on a Wednesday night, on most weeks we still outscore the other team,” Kingston said. “We’ll move on from it.”
Next up for the Bulls is a three-game series against Houston (27-13, 8-4) that begins at 6:30 on Friday night at the USF Baseball Stadium.