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USF blows out Bethune-Cookman in nonconference finale

Redshirt sophomore outfielder Daniel Cantu went 2-for-4 at the plate with a two-run homer and a two-RBI single in the win over Bethune-Cookman. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

USF baseball finished the nonconference portion of its schedule by extending its winning streak to six after beating Bethune-Cookman 13-2 on Tuesday. 

The Bulls (18-7) were disciplined offensively against the Wildcats (10-14), racking up ten hits en route to one of their highest-scoring games of the season.

With 192 runs scored in 25 nonconference games this season, the Bulls boast a scoring average of over seven runs per game. That number is two runs better than their nonconference performance in 2021, a clear improvement in the offense’s production.

Associate coach Bo Durkac, who specifically works as the team’s hitting coach, feels that several players in the lineup have matured at the plate since last season. 

“We have a lot of returning players from last year and there’s a progression that hitters go through as they get older,” Durkac said. “They see the ball better, they get stronger, and if they just continue to get better day by day, you see the results we’ve had this year offensively.” 

The matchup started off shaky with freshman pitcher Jack Cebert being charged with one run, two hits and two batters walked in his one inning pitched.

However, USF was able to pick up two runs alone off a bases-loaded situation and rang in two more thanks to a single from redshirt sophomore outfielder Daniel Cantu to make the score 4-1. 

The Bulls continued to put on the insurance runs in the third with the help of two home runs by Cantu and freshman outfielder Jackson Mayo to extend the lead to 7-1. USF’s third home run of the day was hit by freshman infielder Bobby Boser, driving three runs in for the Bulls in the sixth.

As the team looks forward to conference play, confidence will be running high as all units have been solid in the past weeks with a consistent pitching rotation and an explosive offense. 

USF will have to work harder in its at-bats as it heads to Central Florida for its first conference weekend series, according to Durkac. 

“What happens this weekend and beyond now that we’re in American Athletic Conference play will be very interesting because I think we have a good offense,” he said. “How good? I don’t know, because we haven’t faced the best pitching in the world, but we’re going to see some good ones this weekend.” 

The Bulls will start the series against UCF on Friday at 6 p.m. in Orlando. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and iHeartRadio Bulls Unlimited.