Lawson pitches well enough to keep the Bulls in the game Friday
After getting a poor pitching performance out of starter Phoenix Sanders Thursday, Friday's starter Brandon Lawson was able to keep the team in the game. Lawson (5-5), was able to get through six innings, while giving up ten hits and two walks but only allowing three runs in the process. He didn't have a clean inning but was able to battle and make pitches when he needed.
In the sixth, UConn scored one run to push the lead to 3-0. Bulls reliever Andrew Perez came on in the 7th and gave up two hits, one walk and one run in 1/3 of an inning before being pulled for Mark Savarese, who was able to get the first batter he faced to ground into a double play. The Bulls got the run back after Maglich doubled to lead off the seventh and scored on Borders RBI singe to cut the score to 4-1.
UConn added a run in the 8th and the Bulls responded with of their own vua a Cameron Montgomery home run to lead off the inning. Then Kevin Merrell scored on a Borders RBI single to make it a 5-3 game.
Dylan Burns came on in the ninth for the Bulls and gave up two runs to put the game out of reach as UConn's closer Patrick Ruotolo was able to strike out the side to end it.
"Pitching was fine in the starting role," Kingston said. "Once again, our bullpen struggled to throw strikes, which is disappointing. When we bring you out of the pen, we need to be able to count on you throwing strikes. We really didn't get that today."
Bulls hitters were baffled all day by Cate who went 6.2 innings, scattered five hits and struck out eight. Kingston knows that the offense needs to improve.
"It's been a theme," Kingston said. "We haven't been able to score enough runs a lot of the year. There's a lot of days where we are offensively challenged and that needs to improve in a lot of different ways. Through experience, through getting stronger, through more personnel."
Bulls close out the regular season with a loss on Senior Day
USF had one more chance to finish the regular season on a high note but just couldn't get the big hit late in the game to take the lead.
Bulls starting pitcher Joe Cavallaro continued to be a consistent presence on the mound, as he went five innings of one run ball. He didn't have his best command as he walked four but was able to work around it and limit the damage.
The Bulls took a 2-1 lead in the fifth when third baseman David Villar hit a two-run home run off UConn starter, William Montgomerie.
In the seventh, the Huskies took the lead for good when Bobby Melley hit a two RBI single to put UConn up 3-2.
The Bulls threatened in the 8th with the bases loaded for freshman Jonah Garrison, but he was unable to get the key hit.
"We lost another one run game because we just couldn't get guys in from third base," Kingston said.
USF will be the #7 seed in the AAC tournament and will face #2 ECU at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The Bulls beat the Pirates two out of three on the road last weekend, so the draw set up well even for a team that got swept at home to finish the season.
"Whoever we play, we're gonna go out there and try to continue to get better, " Kingston said. "We'll never be proud of being the seven seed. I can assure you of that. Whenever they tell us to play, we're gonna go there and play hard."