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Pitching, along with timely hits, help Bulls defeat No. 5 UF

USF first baseman Joe Genord hit a solo homer in the bottom of the third inning to give the Bulls an edge in their 6-1 victory over No. 5 Florida on Tuesday. 
ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

Before the season, USF baseball coach Billy Mohl said the biggest question mark for his team was the Bulls’ pitching rotation. The depth of USF’s bullpen was on full display Tuesday in a 6-1 win over No. 5 Florida.

USF’s five pitchers gave up a combined two hits and Florida’s only run scored was from a solo home run in the sixth inning.

“Every guy we put in there to do his job did it,” Mohl said. “[Matt] Marini came in, struggled with his command and we got him out of there. Having depth on the mound allowed us to do that. Logan Lyle was fantastic. Richie [Cruz] gave up a big homer but other than that he threw really well.”

Starting pitcher Baron Stuart got the win, pitching four hitless innings with six strikeouts. Cruz replaced Stuart in the fifth inning and Marini came in the seventh but after pitching four consecutive balls for a walk, Lyle threw four strikeouts in relief.

USF started its scoring early, jumping to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Shortly after, Joe Genord hit a deep home run over the left-field fence. Genord was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Knowing that the offense was having success put Lyle at ease when he took the mound.

“When you’ve got the bats working, you can just relax on the mound, hit your spots,” Lyle said. “If the other team gets some hits, it doesn’t matter because your offense is going to put up numbers for you.”

Lyle recorded three consecutive strikeouts to stop the Gators in the seventh inning. Kyle Phillips stepped up to the plate with one out and the bases loaded. He swung at the first pitch and drove it into the right-center gap on a two-RBI double, extending the Bulls’ lead with some security runs.

“We had plenty of opportunities to score multiple times,” Mohl said. “We didn’t always get the job done so it was nice to see Phillips in that situation come through in that situation. He’s a senior and an all-conference player and he delivered.”

For Phillips, who went 3-for-4, the win is important for the Bulls as they travel to play No. 6 North Carolina on Friday.

“I think it brings some much-needed momentum into this weekend,” Phillips said. “[Florida is] a really good team and this shows us where we are against everyone else and lets us know we can handle anyone we play.”