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USF Weekend Roundup: 4/24-4/26

We're entering the stretch drive of the spring season.

There wasn't too much going on for the Bulls this weekend, in part because the men's tennis team in waiting for the NCAAs and the women's tennis team is finished with their season. But the baseball and softball teams both had pretty critical series, and the Bulls did win another conference championship today (!!!) on which we'll have details for you later.

Baseball: The Basebulls hosted #25 Houston for a big series as far the AAC race goes. They got off to a tremendous start on Friday, as Jimmy Herget pitched an absolute beauty (nine innings, seven hits, zero earned runs, 11 strikeouts)... but Houston pitcher Andrew Lantrip was pretty darn good too (eight and a third innings, six hits, one run, 13 strikeouts). The Bulls finally broke through in the bottom of the 11th on a walk-off single from Buddy Putnam to earn a hard-fought 2-1 win. As we've said before, the Bulls can play with almost anyone when Herget is on the mound.

This was a promising start to a series that fizzled out in the next two games. A late comeback fell just short in the Saturday game as the Bulls fell 9-8, and couldn't get enough offense going on Sunday in a 6-2 loss. The series knocked the Bulls back to the pack a little bit in the AAC, and they're now in a giant four-way tie for first. It's gotten to be the standings-watching time of the year, so let's take a look.

Team Conference W-L RPI
USF 9-6 24
Houston 9-6 26
Memphis 9-6 42
East Carolina 9-6 44
Tulane 8-7 45
UConn 7-8 39
UCF 5-10 55
Cincinnati 4-11 197

Essentially, every team in this conference is pretty good and capable of beating any other team. Except Cincinnati. Hi, Cincinnati!

Anyway, the Bulls are very much still alive for a regular-season title and NCAA tourney berth-- they've got two series against UCF and a series against Tulane ahead-- but don't be too upset if they don't get there. The fact that USF is this good so soon with essentially the same players as Lelo Prado's last squad is just incredible. Enjoy the ride, and be aware that they're almost certainly going to get even better.

Softball: The softball team's tough year continued, as Memphis (16-31 on the season, #200 RPI) took two of three from the Bulls. At this point, the only way the squad could make the NCAA tourney is if they went on a miracle run through the AAC tournament, but it should be noted that in a down year for the softball team, they're still 34-17.

A Karla Claudio grand slam led the Bulls to a 8-2 win in the series opener, but left a runner on second base in the seventh and fell 4-3 in the nightstand. Senior Sam Greiner went out with a bang in the rubber match, pitching five and two-thirds innings of shutout ball in her last home game, but the Bulls couldn't get anything going offensively and fell 2-0.