We’re sending some overdue love to a USF Baseball squad currently 20-9-1 and #41 in the RPI at the writing of this piece. With a home record under first year head coach Mark Kingston of 15-3-1, they are the only undefeated team in the American at 3-0. The Bulls received votes for the NCBWA Top-25 Poll this week and look to have found some offense they were lacking last season. For example, the Bulls have gone yard 19 times in 2015, compared to just nine home runs for the entire 2014 season. Not to mention an RPI of 41, which means they’re hovering right on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament.
Senior first baseman Buddy Putnam was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball after his outstanding performance against Florida Gulf Coast and Cincinnati. Not only did Putnam rack up two homeruns in Estero against FGCU, he drove in the tying run and capped it off by scoring the game winner thanks to OF Luke Maglich’s single in the 9th inning.
Putnam followed up his performance against the Eagles by going yard in the 5th inning, then booming his first career grand slam for the walk-off win against conference foe Cincinnati. The walk-off grand slam marked the second multiple-homerun game of the week for the Bartow native. Kingston said, "Buddy has given us great at bats, but great at-bats with power. He's always been a singles hitter, but this year he's adding power to his game and that's really important to us."
Also make sure to check out Maglich robbing Cincinnati’s Ryan Noda of a homerun below. Climb that wall, young man.
Some noteworthy stats so far this season:
- Catcher Levi Borders is hitting .324 with eight doubles, four homers, 22 RBIs, a slugging percentage of .514 & on-base percentage of .441 (10th in the American). His brother Luke is hitting .266 with eight doubles & 24 RBIs (9th in the conference).
- Buddy Putnam is hitting .250 (19 of 76) with seven doubles, six home runs (7th in the American), 20 RBIs & a slugging percentage of .579 (8th in the league).
- As expected, Friday night ace Jimmy Herget boasts a 2.05 ERA (11th in AAC), 57 strikeouts in 44 IP, & a 5-1 record. Saturday junior Casey Mulholland has also been impressive, with a 2.76 ERA in 42.1 IP. They are the reason the Bulls can match up with any team on Fridays and Saturdays.
- The Bulls are the only team in the eight-team league averaging more than a strikeout per inning (268 IP, 277 K’s). That goes to an aggressive style that attacks hitters, and in the long run that’s going to pay off.
- Fortunately, the Bulls are currently seventh in grounding into double plays, with just 11 through 30 games. Hooray for avoiding my biggest pet peeve!
The Bulls head into a three-game series with UConn beginning today up in Storrs, CT. This is a team worth paying attention to, but eight more weekends of conference play will determine if they can get back to an NCAA Regional for the first time since… 2002. Seriously.
Maglich’s Homerun Robbing Catch