USF wins series over UCF after back-to-back wins


USF won its series against UCF after coming on top 4-2 Sunday for its second win of the weekend in front of 907 fans at USF Baseball Stadium.

Friday night’s 1-0 loss meant USF had to win Saturday and Sunday if it wanted to avenge last season’s AAC conference tournament and series loss last season.

That’s exactly what USF coach Billy Mohl and his team did.  

“We’re a veteran group,” Mohl said. “We’ve done it over and over again. If you go back and look, we consistently do that — we play with a lot of confidence and one game’s not going to set the tone for the rest of the weekend.” 

After a slow first inning, UCF (27-14) struck first scoring two runs in the top of the second. Starting pitcher Collin Sullivan found himself in a few pinch situations, but only allowed two earned runs, giving USF (26-14) a chance to win the series.

“I was putting myself in a lot of tough spots,”  Sullivan said. “Just trusting Mohl and what he calls and just executing the pitch is really all we can do.”

Things started to ramp up in the third inning with a single from Garrett Zech. An error by UCF’s second baseman allowed Tyler Dietrich to reach first base, advancing Zech to second.

Zech was caught stealing third base leaving Dietrich as the only runner on. Duke Stunkel Jr. quickly answered with a homerun to right-center field, tying the game in the bottom of the third.

David Villar, thc next batter, followed it up with another homerun to center field to put USF ahead 3-2.

“It was great,” Villar said. “Duke led it off and he kind of gave us that spark. I just tried to come through and, you know, just get on base for the team.”

After back-to-back homeruns in the third inning, USF rallied.

“It energized us and it gave us a lift,” Mohl said. “It took the energy out of their dugout.”

Sullivan later found himself in a pinch situation in the top of the fifth inning. UCF had runners on first and third bases with two outs, but USF finished unharmed with a clutch strikeout from Sullivan to end the inning. 

USF was in another scoring opportunity situation in the fifth inning.

Zech led things off with a double down the left field line. After a bunt from Tyler Dietrich, and a wild throw to first base, Zech scored and Dietrich advanced to second base. The Bulls extended their lead to 4-2, and would never relinquish it.

Next up, the Bulls take on Bethune-Cookman (17-24), who they beat 16-1 on Feb. 28, on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at USF Baseball Stadium.