A small look into USF baseball’s upcoming season

Sophomore pitcher Austin Grause recorded a 6.00 ERA in his freshman season. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

In its fall scrimmage, South Florida baseball took on Stetson to analyze the depth of its pitching staff along with its lineup Saturday afternoon.

With 10 innings on the board, 10 pitchers were able to flash their talents in a real in-game scenario, including a variety of new additions to the team.

Here are some players to keep an eye on during the offseason:

Best bat – Drew Brutcher and Bobby Boser

Junior outfielder Drew Brutcher has been a key asset of the Bulls in his last two seasons with USF.

Brutcher finished the 2022 season with a .299 batting average and 13 home runs, and put up a .294 average with eight home runs his freshman year.

During the scrimmage, the outfielder logged a home run with an exit velocity of 109 mph with the ball traveling 441 feet over the batting facility. Assistant head coach Bo Durkac wasn’t surprised about Brutcher’s performance either.

“We all know what kind of player Drew is,” Durkac said. “All the scouts were here to see him. On our team, he’s our top prospect for sure. He didn’t disappoint, too. Two good at bats besides the home run with two walks after two strikes, so it was good.”

Another bat that showed talent during the scrimmage was sophomore third baseman Bobby Boser, who sent a ball to left center field 390 feet at 109 mph. With this power at such a young age, Durkac is ready to see what else Boser has up his sleeve.

“Bobby has shown big time power this year,” Durkac said. “He has some swing and misses here and there but when he hits it, it goes and today the wind was not doing anything to help the hitters it was blowing in, and for him to hit that ball out was pretty impressive.”

Best arm – Austin Grause and Parker Seay

Out of the 10 pitchers that stepped on the mound, sophomore Austin Grause and junior Parker Seay excelled.

Grause made 19 appearances during his freshman season in 2022 along with 21 innings pitched. Against the Hatters, the pitcher logged one strikeout with two flyouts, with his fastball peaking at 93 mph.

Besides Grause, JUCO transfer Seay pitched against five batters in 20 pitches, all resulting in outs. The pitcher also had three pitches in his mix, with a fastball at 91 mph, slider at 79 mph and curveball sitting at 75 mph.

Pitching coach Karsten Whitson was pleased with the performance from the two hurlers, seeing how far they have come since both of their arrivals.

“You want to give the ball to a guy that’s earned it throughout the fall, and he’s [Grause] has been our most improved guy so far. Was happy to see him start us off in our first exhibition,” Whitson said.

“I thought Parker there toward the end, the lefty we got from College of Central Florida, was really good. He’s been working really hard and there’s been some changes in the arm slots and stuff that it’s kind of hard to buy into, but he’s done it and he recorded five outs in 20 pitches so that was really cool to see.”

Best glove – John Montes

As many of South Florida’s infield left between the MLB Draft and going into the transfer portal, USF has recruited well to find a new infield identity.

Against Stetson, many in the infield performed well, including Central Florida transfer junior John Montes. Coach Billy Mohl was happy to see the middle infield work efficiently in their many opportunities of the day.

“The middle guys played really well today. Matt Rose and the freshman Eric Snow made some nice plays,” Mohl said. “John Montes laid out to his right and doubled the guy off on that long drive. We’ve gotten more athletic up the middle. Overall, defensively, I thought we played really well. I don’t think we kicked a single ball.”