Fresh off a trip to Port Charlotte to take on the Tampa Bay Rays, USF baseball will return to the college game this weekend when it takes on Liberty in a three-game series Friday-Sunday at the USF Baseball Stadium.
Tuesday’s game against the Rays helped the Bulls get a taste of what it’s like to be a major leaguer, even if just for a day.
“It was good experience for the kids. They were all excited,” coach Billy Mohl said. “They got to be big leaguers for a day. It gave them a little taste of what a big leaguer looks like.”
The Rays won 7-2, but not before USF did what few MLB teams were able to do last season — get to 2018 American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell in the first inning.
RBIs from Tyler Dietrich and Joe Genord helped chase Snell after only 0.2 innings and 29 pitches.
“Those guys were all fired up to face him,” Mohl said. “He’s just starting to get his work in right now, so he’s not going to be as sharp as he normally is, but it was good.”
Genord’s RBI off Snell came a day after being named to the AAC Honor Roll following a weekend against Western Michigan where the senior hit .500 with two homers, five RBIs and six runs scored.
After not being selected in last year’s MLB Draft, Genord is playing with a purpose according to Mohl.
“I think he’s definitely got a little chip on his shoulder,” Mohl said. “He should have been drafted last year, but for whatever reason, the cards did not fall that way. He’s definitely out to prove something this year.”
Joining Genord in conference honors was fellow senior Kyle Phillips. Phillips was named AAC Player of the Week after also hitting .500 against Western Michigan with two homers, five RBIs and six runs scored.
This weekend’s opponent, Liberty, enters with a 9-3 record and on a four-game winning streak after sweeping Maine over the weekend and defeating Virginia Tech on Tuesday.
The Flames feature a regular starting rotation of six pitchers, but no matter who the Bulls see, Mohl said they’ll be quality pitchers. Liberty’s weekend rotation (Andrew McInvale, Noah Skirrow and Joseph Adametz) enters the weekend with opponent batting averages of .172, .176 and .230 respectively.
“They can really pitch,” Mohl said. “Their weekend rotation is really good … they’re gonna go right, left, right. Their guy on Sunday (Adametz) has really good numbers … it’s going to be tighter games than what we saw last weekend. They’re going to be a good challenge.”
USF will send out the same rotation it had against Western Michigan — Collin Sullivan on Friday, Alec Wisley on Saturday and Baron Stuart on Sunday.
First pitch times against Liberty are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, 6:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. The games Friday and Saturday will be streamed on BullsVision and Bulls Unlimited, while Sunday’s game has no announced media.