USF baseball end-of-season report card

Sophomore utility player Bobby Boser led the team in multiple offensive categories this season. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

USF baseball’s season came to an end after losing two games, 3-1 and 15-7, to No. 15 ECU in the American Baseball Championship semifinals on May 27.

The Bulls (21-39, 7-17 AAC) finished with their lowest win total since 1998, excluding the 2020 season where games were suspended early due to COVID-19

Against Top 25 teams, South Florida had a record of 3-10. This was foreshadowed when the Bulls lost a series to No.13 Maryland and No. 16 Florida State to begin the year.

Even though it was an upsetting season, there were a few high points and records that the team can be proud of. This season, USF achieved more home runs than any other season since 1996. One of the notable hitters was sophomore utility player Bobby Boser.

Here is a closer look at how the Bulls’ season went.

Best game

For the second time in three years, USF baseball moved on to the AAC semifinals after a 15-4 win against UCF. The postseason matchup marked the last time the Bulls and the Knights will face off against one another as American conference foes since UCF is moving to the Big 12 Conference starting next season.

After a home run in the third inning by utility player Rafael Betancourt, USF was up 2-0 against UCF.

The score was tied 2-2 at the end of the fourth inning. In the fifth inning, the Bulls added seven to the scoreboard to run rule the Knights.

The Bulls had a season high of 19 hits against the Knights to secure their spot in the next round.

USF was the second team in history to win each of their first two games as the No. 8 seed in the AAC Championship tournament.

Heartbreaking end

Earlier in the tournament, the Bulls upset East Carolina to keep their championship hopes alive. However, the Pirates bested the Bulls in the semifinals in two games, 3-1 and 14-7, May 27.

At the top of the second inning in game two of the series, USF was on top leading 4-0. By the bottom of the inning, the Pirates tied the game.

Redshirt junior catcher Ben Rozenblum’s two-run homer kept the Bulls’ championship hopes alive in the third inning. At the bottom of the fourth inning, ECU countered with 5 runs and never gave up the lead.

Season MVP

Sophomore utility player Bobby Boser was a bright spot for the Bulls during their rough 2023 season.

In his breakout year, Boser ended his season with the second best batting average on the team, at around .323. His 15 home runs in the regular season tied for the ninth-most of all-time. He also added four more home runs to his total during the postseason.

Boser also led the team in other offensive categories. His slugging percentage of .639 and OBP of .435 paced the Bulls this year.

Through 23 conference games, Boser batted a .367, had a .744 slugging percentage and nine home runs. This season, he split his time between shortstop and center field.

Honorable Mention

Rozenblum was a notable player because of his quick pace on the field and his batting skills.

During the 2023 season, his fielding percentage was .995 in 34 games. Rozenblum acted as an important part in the AAC tournament for the Bulls, playing competitively and at a high level as he had multiple hits and an RBI-double against UCF.

He was also placed onto the 2023 American Baseball All-Tournament Team.

Looking ahead

Despite the Bulls having a postseason run that few could have predicted, it would be difficult to call the season as an overall success.

Coaches Karsten Whitson and Bo Durkac have chosen to part ways from USF after the 2023 season came to a disappointing end.

On the field, the Bulls’ batting wasn’t their biggest issue, — it was the team’s pitching. USF had a collective ERA of 6.82.

Any hope of USF rebuilding from the bottom of the conference next year has to start with the proper coaching being put in place as well as stronger performances from their pitching staff.

Grade: C-