Cool off with this year's Spring Break Edition!
Read more here to make every moment last.
 

Taking a look at USF baseball’s non-conference slate

USF will look to start strong in 2024 after going 21-39 last season. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

After finishing with the worst record during head coach Billy Mohl’s tenure, the Bulls will look to turn things around in 2024, starting with their struggles against non-conference foes.

The Bulls finished 14-22 outside of the AAC, being saddled with the toughest non-conference schedule among teams in the American. 

USF picked up quality wins at home against then-ranked No. 13 Maryland and on the road versus No. 7 Florida, proving that this squad has what it takes to overcome good teams.

Related: A quick glance at USF baseball’s upcoming season

Here’s a peek at USF’s non-conference slate for 2024:

Bulls welcome quality opponents early

South Florida begins the season with a seven-game home stretch, and should face a stiff challenge from its opponents on opening weekend.

The Bulls will open the year against UConn on Feb. 16, a squad that went 44-17 last year. 

Louisville comes to town the next day, coming off a season in which it missed both the ACC tournament and the College World Series. 

The Cardinals went 21-4 against non-conference opponents and won 15 of 16 games to start last year, although they faltered down the stretch.

USF will then host Indiana State on Feb. 18 to finish the weekend. 

The Sycamores were a quality team in 2023, finishing with a 45-17 record and winning the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. Despite a strong finish, they struggled against Power Five opponents early in the year.

This opening weekend will be an early test for the Bulls. It will also give Mohl a chance to assess his team against quality opponents.

Tour of Florida

The Bulls will compete against 10 teams from the state of Florida in 2024, with just FAU being a conference opponent.

USF will look to make their case as one of the top teams in the state this year, although they will have to go through some of the best teams in the country to get there.

South Florida’s first road trip of the season will be a week-long trek through north and central Florida. The trip will be from Feb. 27 to March 6 and will open with a contest in Tallahassee against Florida State.

On March 1, the Bulls will reignite their rivalry with UCF as non-conference foes, playing a three-game set in Orlando. The Bulls were 4-3 against the Knights last season, including a 15-4 victory in the AAC tournament.

Related: Bulls end unlikely tournament run with losses to East Carolina

South Florida will round out its non-conference Florida tour with home and away contests against North Florida, FGCU, Bethune-Cookman and Stetson.

It will also play a game each against Jacksonville, Florida A&M and UF, with a three-game in-conference series versus FAU.

Non-conference home game to watch – vs UConn 

UConn will travel to Tampa on Feb. 16 for the opening game of the year. The Huskies were one of the best teams in the Big East last season and are poised to continue that success in 2024.

They came within a game of winning the Big East tournament and are favored to win the conference this year.

UConn owns a 25-23 record over the Bulls all-time, with USF losing the latest matchup 5-4 in Tampa in 2022.

The Bulls will aim to make a statement in this game, and will lean on stars Eric Snow and Drew Brutcher to do so.

Related: Eric Snow: A passion for the game of baseball through his father’s eyes

Non-conference away game to watch – at Florida

South Florida will face 2023 runner-up Florida in Gainesville on May 7. The Gators are consistently one of the best teams in their conference and are coming off a 54-17 season. 

Florida owned one of the best offenses in college baseball last year, leading the country in home runs while finishing seventh in slugging, eighth in runs and tenth in hits.

USF has historically struggled against UF, owning a 5-26 record against the perennial powerhouses. 

The Bulls went into Gainsville last season and left with a 10-9 victory. Attempting to leave with the same result this season will prove to be one of the Bull’s biggest challenges of 2024.