Despite taking a close loss to Stetson on Tuesday, the Bulls made a turnaround with a series win against Wichita State with the help of sophomore outfielder Drew Brutcher’s walk-off homer.
For the Bulls, this was the team’s last chance to start the fire of what could be a similar postseason run it had last year before the upcoming AAC championship.
The Shockers (21-34, AAC 9-15) may not be intimidating by their overall record, but its recent performance suggests an upward trend for the team. Wichita recently swept Tulane on May 15, as well as a shutout 18-0 game against Oklahoma on Monday, showcasing its offensive power.
However, South Florida (28-27, AAC 8-16) had other plans to dominate the series and finish its season on a high note with the help of the offense’s fighting spirit.
South Florida 8, Wichita State 3
What began as a slow Thursday game for the Bulls’ lineup turned into its batting order taking full control of the game.
Wichita State started off the game with a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth, taking advantage of redshirt sophomore pitcher Ethan Brown, grabbing five hits and two earned runs in the first 2.2 innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, USF began its rally with sophomore catcher Nelson Rivera’s double RBI, followed by a signature three-run shot by Brutcher to take the lead 4-3.
The Bulls continued to rack up runs in the sixth with a flyout RBI by Rivera and a double RBI from freshman infielder Bobby Boser to extend the lead 6-3.
To put on some extra insurance, the Bulls finished the game 8-3 thanks to a two-run homer to right field by freshman outfielder Jackson Mayo.
Wichita State 11, South Florida 7 / F7
After Friday’s game was postponed due to rain, the series continued on Saturday for a doubleheader.
Not going down without a fight, the Shockers had an early 5-0 lead in just two innings alone, with four of those runs being charged to redshirt sophomore pitcher Tanner Mink.
Being left to play catch up, South Florida tried to cut the deficit 5-2 but Wichita was ready for another rally. The Shockers put in a five-run inning in the fifth to put its lead 10-2.
South Florida’s offense didn’t give up, bringing the score 11-7 after a two-RBI double from redshirt sophomore outfielder Daniel Cantu, a ground out RBI by redshirt junior infielder Nick Gonzalez and a single RBI by redshirt sophomore infielder Carmine Lane.
When it came down to the seventh, Wichita upheld its lead to take the second game of the series.
South Florida 5, Wichita State 4 / F10
With many of the Bulls’ batting order back, home runs become an everyday occurrence. In the final game of the series, it’s what helped USF claim the 5-4 win.
In a walk-off fashion, Brutcher powered a solo home run over the centerfield wall to make sure the Bulls finish its regular season on an offensive high.
The game kicked off with an early 2-2 tie against the Shockers, as both teams were eager to take the series win after each team’s lineups proved its worth in the matchups.
Wichita State held a 4-2 lead over the Bulls until a comeback rally began with a signature Lane two-run homer.
In the series, the Bulls’ lineup showed it wasn’t willing to give up, no matter how large the deficit may be.
The strong offense USF has been presenting in its games is part of the equation the team needs going into the postseason to begin its underdog reign.
The Bulls will begin its postseason run in Clearwater in the AAC Championship on Tuesday.