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Offense, pitching struggle as Bulls drop series to Cincinnati

Noah Yager threw 4.2 innings in relief on Sunday against Cincinnati. The junior allowed two runs on five hits. ORACLE PHOTO/JOSÉE WOBLE

After recording just four hits in its rubber match against Cincinnati on Sunday, USF baseball lost its first series of conference play after losing 4-1 in Game 3 to the Bearcats.

“I think on a Sunday in college baseball, you give up four runs, you should win most of those games,” coach Billy Mohl said. “We have to be better on the mound. You can’t have your starter go two and a third or whatever. The problem with us is we gave up 14 free bases today, whether it was stolen bases, hit-by-pitches or walks. That’s not a recipe for success.”

Starting pitcher Ben Koff went 2.2 innings, giving up four hits and striking out two. Noah Yager came in relief after Koff threw his 49th pitch of the day. Yager lasted 4.2 innings, giving up five hits and striking out two. Dylan Burns closed the game, pitching 1.2 innings.

Cincinnati’s offense rallied Sunday as a result of the less-than-stellar USF bullpen performance. The Bearcats recorded nine hits, including at least one in seven of the nine innings.

Cincinnati first baseman Cole Murphy plated the first run of the game in the second inning. The Bearcats had the bases loaded with no outs and a sacrifice fly to centerfield allowed Murphy to score.

Center fielder Kyle Phillips threw to third baseman Dylan Buck, who tagged out the runner from second base who was attempting to tag, which helped get USF out of a potentially worse inning.

“That was huge at the time to prevent that big inning,” Mohl said. “Usually when opponents score four, we should win that game but the offense is struggling right now.”

USF recorded four hits on Sunday, all of which were singles.

Those hits came from Kyle Phillips, Austin Bodrato and Joe Genord. The Bearcats’ starting pitcher, Garrett Schoenle, pitched 8.1 innings, striking out twelve Bulls. After throwing 126 pitches, his near-complete game came to an end.

“He was good,” Mohl said. “You look up his stats, he punched twelve, he threw strikes all game, he got tired there in the end in the ninth. He attacked the hitters and we had nothing to show for it besides Kyle Phillips who had two hits, but we didn’t make good enough adjustments.”

USF reached second base in the first inning. The Bulls didn’t reach scoring position again until the ninth. USF loaded the bases with one out and Joe Genord scored thanks to an RBI groundout from Chris Chatfield.

What could have been a ninth-inning rally wasn’t enough to secure the weekend win for the Bulls.

The Bulls travel to DeLand, where they will face Stetson on Tuesday. The Hatters played in the NCAA Super Regional last season in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where they lost two games, ultimately ending their season.