USF baseball went into Tallahassee Tuesday with a 15-game losing streak spanning 28 years against the Seminoles. But the monkey is off their back with a 4-2 win behind a great pitching performance from some newcomers for the Bulls.
The Bulls were held in check for most of the game by FSU starter Andrew Karp, who went seven shutout innings, scattering three hits and striking out nine.
Things changed when the Seminoles turned to the bullpen to get the last three outs.
RHP Chase Haney got through the eighth in order, but then hit CF Garrett Zech to begin the ninth, prompting a call to the bullpen by head coach Mike Martin. RHP Jim Voyles struck out SS Kevin Merrell, but walked second baseman Coco Montes on four pitches. FSU again went to the ‘pen, this time for LHP Alec Byrd, who walked DH Luke Borders to load the bases.
RHP Will Zirzow relieved Byrd and walked first baseman Joe Genord, which scored Zech for the Bulls’ first run of the game. A passed ball scored Montes to tie it at 2, and then Chris Chatfield was hit by a pitch to reload the bases. Again Martin went to the bullpen, this time for RHP Steven Wells.
USF's Tyler Dietrich hit a sac fly to right field, scoring Borders and giving USF a 3-2 lead. David Villar singled home an insurance run to push the lead to 4-2 before the Noles called on LHP Drew Parrish to finally get out of the inning.
(If you were counting at home, that was six FSU pitchers to get three outs.)
On the flip side, Bulls starter RHP Ryan Valdes struggled with command during his outing as he gave up one hit, two runs and walked three. He was pulled after three innings, but the bullpen kept the Bulls in the game.
Freshmen Noah Yager, Carson Ragsdale and Collin Sullivan combined to toss four no-hit innings and struck out two hitters each. Senior Mark Savarese pitched a scoreless eighth to get the win.
Sophomore LHP Andrew Perez came on in the ninth and shut the door for his first save of the 2017 season and second of his career.
This is a huge win for the Bulls in their quest to make it back to the NCAA Regionals. A big hurdle (both competitively and psychologically) was cleared, and this could be a sign of things to come for the young team.
USF is back home Friday at 6:30pm to face Miami (OH) in a four-game series.