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USF Baseball Gets Shut Out, Swept By #16 Tulane

USF baseball had a tough weekend vs #16 Tulane, as the offense scores only five runs in three games.

Nathan Bond

After a loss on Friday night, USF fell to 16th-ranked Tulane again Saturday night, 7-1. Green Wave DH Jeremy Montalbano hit three home runs, two of the solo variety.

USF starter Brandon Lawson went six innings, notched eight strikeouts and gave up four runs (three earned).

"Lawson was solid," manager Mark Kingston said. "They just got more big hits than we did, obviously, the big home runs. It was the story last night, it was the story again tonight."

Tulane's starter, lefty Ross Massey, got through 5 2/3 innings for the win, striking out six Bulls.

Bulls shortstop Coco Montes provided USF's only offense of the evening when he launched a ball to dead center for his second home run of the season.

Most of the fireworks Saturday night were between the two teams' fans, as they had to be asked by security to calm down.

Sunday not so Funday

The Bulls (21-26, 6-12) offense didn't show up at all on Sunday. Massey's older brother, Alex, cruised through seven innings, scattering five hits and racking up eight K's.

USF starter Joe Cavallaro went six strong innings, giving up just three runs, all in the second, while striking out seven. After allowing four hits in the first two innings, he settled down and gave up just two hits the rest of the way. Tommy Eveld had a dominant three-inning relief appearance, striking out the side in the 7th and 8th innings and finishing with seven strikeouts.

"Absolutely, we pitched well enough to win," Kingston said. "Our offense needs to do a better job than what we're doing right now. We're gonna look at the box scores, look at the film and figure out where we can improve and I think we can improve everywhere at this point."

Things got a little dicey when Eveld hit Saturday's star Montalbano in the neck and shoulder area in the 7th inning. Both benches were warned. When Eveld faced Montalbano again in the ninth, he got him to line out to second baseman Kevin Merrell, and as Eveld walked off the field he and Montalbano jawed back and forth.

If these two teams meet in the conference tournament, there will be added attention to things.

"We don't enjoy losing," Kingston said. "We got beat by a team that's ahead of us right now. They're playing better baseball. That's a very strong regional team, but it doesn't mean I think we should lose."

USF travels to Gainesville on Tuesday to match up against the top-ranked Florida Gators and then goes to East Carolina, another top 20 team, for a three-game weekend series. Kingston said this trip is a going to be a measuring stick on the progress of the team.

"If nothing else, we're gonna see what high-level baseball is and how far they have to go to get there," Kingston said.