USF swept a doubleheader from Harvard Saturday, winning the first game 4-1 and holding off the Crimson 8-6 in the nightcap. The Bulls are now 18-1, and the 17-game streak is the second-longest in program history. (It turns out the 1991 team had a 20-game streak.)
LHP Shane McClanahan continued to shine in game one, throwing a complete game gem to help the Bulls win. (Due to the doubleheader, the first game was only seven innings long.)
The lefty struck out 11 and didn’t walk anyone. After issuing an uncharacteristic four walks in his last start, he threw 75 of his 104 pitches for strikes and wasn’t afraid to let the Crimson hit the ball.
“I just tried to throw a lot more strikes and let them hit the ball this time,” McClanahan said.
The Bulls got the scoring going in the second inning when C Tyler Dietrich singled home 3B David Villar for the first run of the game. The other runs came in the sixth inning when Villar hit a three-run home run to put the game away for USF.
RHP Ryan Valdes got the start in game two and looked very shaky in the early going. He gave up three runs in the first two innings, then recovered to retire 15 of the last 16 batters he faced.
After the Crimson took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, SS Kevin Merrell hit a solo blast completely over the batting facility in right field to tie things at 1-1. After a single by 2B Coco Montes and a double by DH Luke Borders, 1B Joe Genord singled to bring them home and give USF a 3-1 lead.
Harvard struck back for two in the second to tie it again, but then went quietly into the night once Valdes got into a groove.
“He labored big time in the first two innings, and we got to the point where we didn’t know if he was gonna get through three or four innings,” Kingston said. “But he found a way. He tweaked a couple things with [pitching coach Bill] Mohl and found a way to get in a rhythm. Once he did, he threw up a lot of zeroes.”
The Bulls took the lead for good when CF Garrett Zech tripled to open the second and Merrell singled him home to make it 4-3.
USF recorded 15 hits in the contest. It was their sixth time in eight games recording at least 14 hits.
“We’re taking better at-bats. We’re taking more professional at-bats. Still think we left some runs out there that we could’ve had more but on most days we’ll take eight runs on 15 hits,” Kingston said.
USF scored two runs in the 6th and two in the 7th to give them some cushion as they went to the bullpen.
Freshman RHP Carson Ragsdale gave up a two-run HR in the eighth to make it 8-5 and sophomore closer Andrew Perez shut the door in the ninth after giving up an unearned run to strikeout the side to earn his third save of the season.
USF goes for the sweep tomorrow at 1 p.m. Freshman RHP Collin Sullivan will get his first college start. Because Phoenix Sanders last night and McClanahan and Valdes went seven innings each in their starts the Bulls will have their “A” bullpen available in case #FreshmanGonnaFreshman.
The game will be stream on Facebook Live via the USF Baseball page.
- Merrell swiped his 13th bag of the year and 50th of his career moving him into sole possession of 10th all-time in steals. He also went 4-for-8 with two runs and two RBI in the doubleheader.
- Montes got his first career steal and is just 49 steals behind Merrell for 10th all-time.
- Villar went 4-for-6 in both games, with the three-run HR in game one plus a two-run single in game two.