Looking ahead to the Bulls’ matchups against FSU and Northeastern

Bulls baseball will face their third-ranked opponent on Wednesday, just two weeks into their campaign. ORACLE PHOTO/ LANIE DE LA MILERA

USF baseball may seem like it’s not on its A-game, but the program has loaded its schedule with back-to-back ranked opponents. This week, South Florida (3-5) will take on No. 16 Florida State and Northeastern.

The Bulls have performed despite testing themselves against some of the best talent in the country and continue to do so this week against the Seminoles (6-1). However, USF may have the opportunity to log an additional three wins when they take on the Huskies (5-1).

Here is what to expect in this week’s slate of games for USF baseball:

Beginning on Wednesday, the Bulls will continue their in-state road trip against the Seminoles (6-1) in Tallahassee. FSU currently boasts a series win against No. 10 TCU and has outscored its opponents 67-32 in seven games.

Currently, FSU shows a strong offense, starting the same six to seven players in their batting order and adjusting the last two spots accordingly. Collectively, FSU is batting .315 while its opponents record a measly .230.

One of the more skilled players in the batter’s box is junior infielder Jordan Carrion, who has posted a .429 average so far paired with five doubles. He leads the team with 13 RBI.

Like the USF bullpen, FSU also uses multiple arms in a weekend series. This weekend, the Seminoles used 11 arms against the Horned Frogs while the Bulls used 13 in their series with the Owls.

Midweek matchups pose a challenge for any team as they figure out who to throw after a long weekend of games. South Florida, however, has a standing chance, as they finally figure out its starting lineup and begin working out the kinks in its pitching staff.

Just last week, USF took down No. 6 UF 10-9 thanks to a late seven-run production by the offense. If the Bulls can continue their hot streak in the batter’s box, they have a fighting chance to take down the Seminoles.

For the Bulls’ third weekend series of the season, they will take on the Huskies (5-1) for three matchups Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Northeastern has traveled to Florida since Feb. 24, playing Boston in Fort Myers followed by a three-game slate against Indiana State in Port Charlotte. Other than their exhibition against the Red Sox, the Huskies have only dropped one game against UNC Greensboro so far this season.

Though the Huskies’ record may show skill, all of their opponents were low in the ranks in comparison to the Bulls’ campaign so far.

In terms of the talent Northeastern holds offensively, two players stick out in the batting order. Redshirt senior utility Danny Crossen and junior catcher Jimmy Sullivan both lead the team in batting average with a . 417 and .348.

Along with the batting order that collectively hits a .325 average, the Huskies also have a trustworthy arm in their starting rotation. Showing promise in his last two starts is junior pitcher Wyatt Scotti who boasts a 2.70 ERA and leads the team in strikeouts.

Besides Scotti, the pitching patterns between South Florida and Northeastern are comparable with the Huskies throwing 14 and 12 arms in their last two series.

Once again, the toughness of schedule plays a huge part in this matchup even though records may not show it, with almost all of USF’s opponents being top-25 programs while NU is playing against mid-major schools. In the Bulls’ last four games, they outscored opponents 28-26. In their first four, they were outscored 15-30, which showed vast improvement.

If the South Florida offense can continue its hot streak while the pitching staff continues to make adjustments and find consistency, the Bulls will have the tools to sweep or win the series against Northeastern.