USF Baseball (21-28, 6-13) dropped their series opener to #21 ECU Friday night, extending their worst losing streak of 2016 to six. For the second straight game the Bulls held a lead into the sixth, but couldn't keep it late.
The offense jumped out early plating at least one run in the first three innings, capped by a two-run home run by Luke Borders in the third to take a 4-0 lead. Second baseman Kevin Merrell and outfielder Luke Maglich had the two other RBIs.
To break up the all-lefty top of the order head coach Mark Kingston had outfielder Garrett Zech bat second, where he went 1-5. He also moved third baseman David Villar up to the fifth spot in the order, and he responded by going 3-5 on the night. Borders hit sixth, and was 3-5 with 3 RBI's.
The Pirates scored once in both the fourth and fifth innings, but the Bulls tacked on three more runs in the top of the sixth to push the lead to 7-2.
Then the bottom of the sixth happened.
Bulls starter Phoenix Sanders faced five batters in the sixth without recording an out, all of which came around to score. Sanders was lifted for reliever Andrew Perez, who faced three batters, walked two, allowed a hit and all three came around to score. Going to their third pitcher of the inning, the Bulls called upon Dylan Burns, who after allowing a run himself, finally got the Bulls out of the inning, down 11-7.
The Pirates added three more in the eighth to finish their scoring at 14. USF had their opportunities late in the game, loading the bases in the eighth and ninth, but unable to score.
The bullpen continues to be a problem for the Bulls and it doesn't look like anything is going to change. Seven runs should be enough, and though the last two weeks have seen improved competition, they are coming up with new ways to lose. This week is turning into a nightmare for them.