TAMPA- After a 2-1 opening weekend in Clearwater, there were high hopes for USF Baseball going into their home opener against the No. 5 Florida Gators. But the Bulls (2-2) fell 13-3 on Wednesday night in their home opener.
Gator starter Brett Morales was dominant in his six innings of work. The Tampa native tossed six perfect innings while recording seven strikeouts.
"He was very good. He has great stuff," USF head coach Mark Kingston said. "He had exceptional command tonight. We looked at our charts and he was ahead of hitters all night."
Tommy Peterson got the start for the Bulls in his second appearance of the season. Peterson (0-1) was tagged for two runs in the first inning after Harrison Bader tripled home a pair. He was the victim of some bad luck, and finished allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits in 4.2 innings with six strikeouts and three walks.
Getting the third out seemed to be a struggle all night for the Bulls pitching staff. The Gators (4-0) scored 10 runs with two outs, with most of the damage coming in the eighth inning when they piled on seven off of Tommy Eveld and Ryan Valdes.
USF was finally able to breakthrough in the seventh off Gators' reliever Danny Young. Kevin Merrell reached base on an error, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Kyle Teaf RBI single. Another positive for the Bulls was the strong relief appearance by freshman Joe Cavallaro. Cavallaro allowed an unearned run in 2.1 innings while striking out two.
"I told the team it was one game. I want us to have an attitude that we hate to lose to anybody," Kingston said. "That being said, we need to flush it and move on. It has nothing to do with how we'll play this weekend."
USF welcomes Wagner (0-0) to town for a three game series that begins on Friday night at the USF Baseball Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. with Jimmy Herget on the mound for the Bulls.