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Bulls squash Wildcats in midweek game

Redshirt junior outfielder Daniel Cantu was just one triple shy of going for the cycle. ORACLE PHOTO/CARLEIGH BENEDICT

Just like its first meeting with Bethune Cookman on March 28, South Florida baseball defeated BCU (17-14, SWAC 8-2) 13-2 in its midweek match on Tuesday night.

Offense carried the Bulls (15-19, 4-2 AAC) to their victory over the Wildcats, racking up 15 hits, four doubles, four homers and 12 runs. The USF batting order continuously strained the BCU bullpen, throwing nine pitchers throughout the night.

Bulls coach Billy Mohl said he was pleased with the way the team came together for the win on Tuesday, especially from faces that haven’t had many opportunities this season.

“When we went out big, it was a chance to give opportunity to guys that haven’t played a whole lot lately. It was good to see [freshman infielder] Matt Rose with the same goal and the other guys come through,” Mohl said.

“[Junior catcher Nelson] Nelly [Rivera] hits the ball, finally gets one out. Just start building some of those guys’ confidence because at some point, we’re going to need them and it was good to be able to get everybody in.”

The scoring affair started early on in the game with a blast over right field from redshirt junior Daniel Cantu in his first at-bat of the game. The Bulls tagged on another two runs in the second inning, but it wasn’t until the third that they extended their lead to 7-0 with four runs scored.

It began with a double RBI from freshman infielder Eric Snow who was tagged out on third. A solo shot from sophomore outfielder Bobby Boser and a RBI double from junior outfielder Drew Brutcher followed.

By the end of the seventh, the Bulls got ahead 12-2 with another home run from Rivera by making jumps on the Wildcats’ mistakes.

Freshman pitcher Lawson Gailey pitched well in his four innings of work, only allowing two hits. His absence starting in the fifth was due to Mohl having him on a limit.

“It was good. He was on a pitch count tonight. We wanted to have him available for the weekend going into Houston. He threw a lot of strikes, got a lot of quick outs and we were able to keep his pitch count down and get him ready for this weekend,” Mohl said.

South Florida also took the opportunity to work some of its newer pitchers to keep arms sharp before another conference slate this weekend.

Across six different pitchers, USF struck out 10 in nine innings pitched, and limited BCU to seven hits and two runs.

Mohl said getting a few pitchers on the mound was key to figuring out what needs work in the pen before taking on Houston on Friday.

“I thought it was good. We had a big lead and we maintained it, [but there are] definitely still some things to work on. I thought [redshirt junior pitcher] Tanner Mink looked really sharp. I thought [redshirt junior pitcher Nolan] Hudi was okay,” Mohl said.

“[Freshman pitcher Chandler] Dorsey got back out after struggling this past weekend against Tulane, and so it’s good to get him back on the bump. Those guys need a little work. They got it tonight and now it’s time to get ready for Houston.”

Houston baseball (17-15, AAC 4-2) has an impressive series win over No. 9 East Carolina and has won five of its last seven matches.

For Mohl, he said the upcoming game is a lot more than just another conference slate.

“Oh my goodness. I mean, it’s where I’m from, but we have a long history with Houston. They’re a talented team. It’s going to be a challenge this weekend. You gotta play well to win there. Our guys are ready for it, they’ve got confidence going into it, so I’m excited to get there,” Mohl said.

“We’re gonna have to continue to pitch. We’re very similar teams, they got some good pitchers, we got some quality pictures and our offenses are similar. It’s going to be the team who plays the best they can to win.”

The Bulls will remain on the road until April 21, where the Knights will return for a rematch of the War on I-4. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Bulls Unlimited.