NOTEBOOK: Two War on I-4 wins highlight tennis conference tournaments

USF women’s tennis defeated UCF 4-3 in the AAC Tournament quarterfinals for its first win over the Knights since April 2017. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

USF women’s tennis entered the AAC Tournament on April 20 as the lowest seed in the field and on a five-game losing streak. Two days later, they found themselves in the tournament semifinals after pulling off two remarkable upsets. 

Wednesday’s 4-3 win over Temple may have just been an 8-9 seed matchup, but the Bulls (7-16) picked up the final three singles points to advance to the next round in a fierce comeback, snapping that losing skid in the process.

Thursday was the real treat for Bulls fans, a 4-3 victory over top-seeded No. 18 UCF in the quarterfinals. The Knights were winners of eight consecutive matches, including a 4-0 win over USF in their previous game. 

With the score tied 3-3, freshman Sierra Berry clinched the shocking upset with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 triumph over Noel Saidenova to send the Knights home.

The Bulls’ run would come to an end in the semis, losing 4-0 to No. 4 seed Memphis.

No. 41 Men’s tennis picks up conference tournament win over No. 44 UCF

The men’s tennis matchup with UCF was much more even on paper than the women’s clash. Both teams are recognized as one of the best in the country and they combined for a back-and-forth contest that came down to the wire.

USF grabbed the first point of the match thanks to the duo of sophomore Alvin Tudorica and junior Sergio Gomez Montesa winning the final doubles matchup.

A first singles win set the Bulls up nicely to close out the match, but the Knights rattled off three consecutive singles wins shortly after to take a commanding 3-2 lead. Juniors Chase Ferguson and Antonio Muniz both triumphed over their respective singles opponents to eliminate UCF in the quarterfinals, a mirror image of the women’s team.

The Bulls would fall 4-2 in the semifinals to top-seeded SMU, however.

Baseball wins first AAC series against Cincinnati

USF baseball picked up its first series win in conference play on the road at Cincinnati and scored a season-high number of runs in Sunday’s 19-5 win.

The Bulls (23-17, 4-8 AAC) rebounded from a 13-2 loss on Saturday for their biggest margin of victory since a 17-2 blowout of Stony Brook on Feb. 27.

Offensive production was led throughout the weekend by four true freshmen — infielder Bobby Boser, outfielders Marcus Brodil and Jackson Mayo and first baseman Sonny Rao. Together, they combined for 13 hits, 12 runs and 12 RBI.

USF also won the series opener on Friday 10-9, a notable game in its own right. Rao’s two-run double in the top of the ninth completed the late rally for a dramatic victory.

The Bulls return home to begin a three-game series against Houston on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and broadcast on iHeartRadio Bulls Unlimited.