Bulls complete their first sweep of the season

Redshirt sophomore Daniel Cantu hit a home run on Sunday against Stony Brook, capping a weekend where he had three hits and three RBIs. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

USF baseball’s offense progressively improved over the weekend in its series sweep against Stony Brook. After winning by just one run on Friday, the Bulls won by at least six in the next two games.

The Bulls’ (4-2) turnaround came after a rough opening weekend in which they went 1-2. The team was more consistent on the mound and at the plate against the Seawolves (1-5).

On Friday, redshirt sophomore pitcher Jack Jasiak put in six innings of work and recorded eight strikeouts. But while he was dominant, the Bulls’ offense remained dormant for much of the game.

It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth that USF scored through redshirt sophomore Carmine Lane’s RBI single. 

Once the eighth inning came around, USF’s bats picked up the pace and scored two more runs to make the score 3-2. 

Redshirt junior pitcher Orion Kerkering closed out the game, sealing the win for USF and earning his first save of the season. 

USF’s offense came alive in Saturday’s 9-3 win as the team recorded 12 hits in their best offensive performance of the season to that point.

Throughout the game, USF was strong in the box led by redshirt sophomore infielder Ben Rozenblum who finished the game with two RBIs. Sophomore catcher Joaquin Monque also contributed to the cause with his first collegiate home run. 

Although they were able to get nine runs across, coach Billy Mohl was disappointed that the team left 14 runners stranded on base.

“I thought we swung the bats well, I still think we left out too many opportunities on the bases,” he said.

Redshirt junior Brad Lord had a strong start Saturday, picking up his second win of the year behind five innings of solid work. He allowed just two runs and struck out three batters before making way for an impressive performance from the USF bullpen.

Redshirt junior Devin Hemenway, redshirt sophomore Hunter Mink and freshman Austin Grause all impressed in their relief stints. The trio combined for nearly four innings and gave up just two hits.

“I thought Brad Lord was really good,” Mohl said. “Kind of ran out of gas in the sixth and I thought Devin came in and kind of settled the boat and Hunter and Grause finished it up for us.”

USF quickly bested their nine runs on Saturday with an explosive 17-2 win on Sunday to sweep the Seawolves. 

The Bulls were hot from the start, scoring six runs over the first two innings, highlighted by a two-run homer from Lane. Sophomore Drew Butcher added to the tally in the sixth inning with a three-run homer of his own. 

The momentum stretched into the seventh with a home run from redshirt sophomore Daniel Cantu who had a strong weekend against the Seawolves with three RBIs.

“I feel good. I’ve been feeling good all weekend, just haven’t had much to show for it, but I got a good pitch and did some damage,” he said.

The scoring continued through the eighth inning as the Bulls finished with their most runs in a single game since a 20-run performance against Purdue in 2013. 

“Everybody had a hit, everybody contributed today, which is what we talked about all the time from the freshmen to the seniors,” Mohl said. “Those guys came out and they competed well in the box.”

Following an encouraging performance, Cantu expressed his excitement not just about the result but also for the major contributions of a few of the Bulls’ younger players. 

“The outcome for the weekend was awesome,” he said. “We had a lot of young guys step up and just do their job and be a good teammate.”

USF baseball will host its mid-week matchup in the USF Baseball Stadium against Florida International on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and iHeartRadio Bulls Unlimited.