The Bulls played the first of a three-game series away against #12 Houston last night, losing late 3-2. USF took a 2-1 lead into the eight inning, but ultimately weren't able to hold on. The Bulls record now falls to 21-16 and 7-6 in The American.
Since it was the first game of the series that can only mean one thing- Jimmy Herget put on a show. Although he got hooked with the loss, he put in another impressive start. He lasted 7.2 innings and gave up three runs off ten hits and struck out three. "(We battled) all night long against a really good USF pitcher, said Houston Head Coach Todd Whitting of Herget. "That guy came in with a 1.03 ERA, and that's the thing about this league is that it's a very good league with very good pitching on the weekends. Tonight we beat a really good pitcher."
USF Head Coach Lelo Prado was not happy with the umpires and even went so far as to blame USF losing the game on them. “An umpire decided the outcome of the game which should not happen in college baseball," said Prado. "I feel bad for my kids because they out-played them and should have left here with a win tonight.”
The Bulls got the early lead in the first, with Kyle Teaf scoring off a sacrifice fly from Luke Maglich. Teaf led the game off with a single and advanced to second off a fielding error. He then advanced to third off a groundout by Lawrence Pardo before scoring off of Teaf's sacrifice.
Houston answered with a run of their own in the second to tie off an RBI single. USF then loaded the bases with one out in the third inning and forced a run in off a fielders choice groundout to take the 2-1 lead. Even though the Bulls had plenty of chances to extend their lead (they left at least one runner on base every inning through the eighth), the 2-1 score ultimately stood until Houston rallied in the eighth. Back to back two-out singles by the Cougars brought in the tying and go ahead runs.
Going into the series, Houston was leading the nation in ERA, struck out 237 batters as a staff, and walked a conference-low 61, while holding opponents to a .212 batting average. Aaron Garza got the start for the Cougars in game one (went 6.2 innings giving up one earned run off seven hits and struck out four). Jake Lemoine (1.34 ERA, 5-2) will get the start in game two and Jared West (2.66 ERA, 2-2) will get the nod in the finale on Saturday. As a three-man weekend rotation, they are the fifth best in the country in terms of ERA. Left-fielder Michael Pyeatt leads Houston in batting with a .321 average (he went 2-4 in game one).
Casey Mulholland (3.19 ERA, 3-0) will get the start in game two tonight for the Bulls. Tommy Peterson (1.93 ERA, 3-1) will likely get the starting nod on Saturday to finish out the series. Shortstop Kyle Teaf led the Bulls in batting average going into the series (and went 3-4 in game one) with a .344 average.
Game two of the series will be played tonight at 7:30 PM. The series finale will be Saturday at 1:30 PM. Next up the Bulls will host FGCU on Tuesday at 6:30 PM before hosting Memphis in a three game series next weekend.