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Northeastern sweeps away South Florida pitching staff

Freshman infielder Eric Snow has shown strides of improvement, from starting the season hitless to becoming a staple name in the batting order. ORACLE PHOTO/ GRANT GONSALVES

South Florida baseball has been successful at the plate, with 67 runs in 12 games. However, pitching is what led to USF’s demise in Northeastern’s sweep. 

The Bulls (3-9) gave up nine home runs to the Huskies (8-1) over the course of three matches along with 36 runs. Over the course of 13 different arms logged over the weekend, the bullpen racked up their ERA to 7.45.

After facing USF, NU now has a total of 13 stolen bases over 18 attempts, nine of which came from the three games against the Bulls. The Huskies have also racked up 23 home runs over the season. 

It all started with NU recording its first win of the series in a 15-3 run rule over USF on Friday. Though the Bulls started off strong with a solo shot from sophomore infielder Bobby Boser, the Huskies racked up five runs in four innings to take a 5-2 lead. 

By the sixth inning, the Bullspen had a hard time with the Northeastern offense. They gave up a single and two two-run homers to give the Huskies an 11-3 lead. As the seventh rolled by, NU extended its lead with a double RBI and three-run shot to put the game 15-3. 

Across four different pitchers, the Bulls threw 173 pitches in seven innings in comparison to the 110 pitches thrown by three Husky pitchers. The high count shows the difficulties the Bulls’ pitching staff currently has with getting deep into counts, which is exactly what every opponent strives to do. 

USF Coach Billy Mohl said the counts were in correlation between an explosive Northeastern offense and flaws within their own pen. 

“If it’s a pitching count, I’ll give credit to their offense as a really good offense, but at the same time, we make more mistakes. The guys know they know what they need to do. They need to make the adjustment,” Mohl said. 

However, there was one adjustment Mohl said is cardinal. 

“Let’s get the ball down in the strike zone,” Mohl said. 

South Florida improved on its offense in game two of the series, but once again took a beating with 13 Northeastern players crossing the plate. 

USF went in a different direction on Saturday, starting junior righty Jackson Cothren instead of redshirt sophomore lefty Nolan Hudi, but it didn’t make much of a difference. 

In 1.1 innings of work, Cothren gave up five earned runs, hit and walked one batter and recorded three strikeouts. Overall, the pitching staff gave up three home runs, one triple and one double in nine innings with the Huskies logging their second win of the series 13-8.

Even though their pitching was slow, the Bulls logged some key at-bats. One bat that stuck out in particular was freshman infielder Eric Snow. The fresh face hit an RBI double in the second inning followed by his first career home run and grand slam in the fourth. 

On Sunday, the series wrapped up with an 8-7 heartbreak loss after the Bulls attempted a rally in the ninth. 

USF’s pitching staff was able to keep Northeastern a little closer when on the mound, but still gave up three home runs on the day as well as all runs recorded for the Huskies being earned. 

Snow had a solid day at the plate once again, swinging for the fences with his second grand slam in just two days. 

For Snow, the moment of his first homer being a grand slam was something he said he knew he would never forget. 

“It was an exciting moment knowing how hard it is to get to this point. Getting here and doing that is something special and I’ll cherish it for a long time,” Snow said. 

By the end of the week, the infielder boosted his average from .125 when he played against Florida State to a .296 on Sunday. He recorded six hits, one double, two grand slams and drew one walk in three games. 

Mohl didn’t discredit his offense and their production, with the batting order averaging six runs per game in the last seven contests. 

“They’ve been great. There are some strikeout issues sometimes, but the next guy usually picks up the guy before him. You can’t fault those guys, they scored seven, eight runs again at this point and we gotta do better as a pitching staff,” Mohl said. 

With USF now 12 games into the season, pitching has been inconsistent and is the main culprit in the majority of the program’s losses. 

South Florida will remain home to take on Pitt for a midweek matchup at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Bulls Unlimited.