Ace Jimmy Herget struggled in his outing against UConn, but came out slinging the ball perfectly on Friday night to start the series against East Carolina. He pitched eight innings, including nine strikeouts and one walk, and earned only one run. Tommy Peterson came in to close out the ninth with an easy-looking three-up-three-down effort. Friday night gave Peterson his eleventh save, which puts him at fourth nationally for most saves this season. Herget got his ERA down to 2.65 and now has 72 strikeouts; good enough for 13th in the country. USF won Friday's game 2-1 for their 23rd of the season.
Casey Mulholland started Saturday night's game and actually outdid Herget. Mulholland pitched a shutout, which included ten strikeouts and no walks. He earned a mention on the conference honor roll for the second time in the last month. Brandon Lawson came in to pitch the ninth inning and struck out three of the four batters he faced. USF won Saturday 10-0 as Levi Borders got six RBIs on three hits.
The Bulls' quiet Sunday offense was no help to Joe Cavallaro, who pitched a shutout into the fifth inning before earning three runs and being replaced by Michael Farley. USF managed to get ten men on base, but clutch hitting was nowhere to be found as they were all left stranded. ECU avoided the sweep with a 6-0 win over USF, making the Bulls record 24-12-1.
Kyle Teaf got six hits over the weekend, bringing his batting average up to 2.61, and even made a great defensive play Friday night that will help everyone forget about his twelve errors this year.
After depending on late game heroics from Buddy Putnam and Luke Maglich to win the UConn series last weekend, it was a relief to see the pitching come through to win this one. The team is looking more and more like a squad that should be in first place and could get quite a few post season wins. They are RPI #25 and are getting votes in the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches' Polls. Mark Kingston has some of the country's best players at his disposal, but he is definitely working some magic to get so much success in his first year in Tampa.
Tonight USF goes for the 25-win mark against Stetson before heading to Memphis to continue conference play. They only need one win this weekend to stay in first place, but another series win would create a lot of momentum and earn them some much deserved attention in the polls.