A failed rundown cost the USF Bulls Saturday night as Florida A&M beat them 3-2 in 11 innings, evening the two teams’ weekend series at a game apiece. The Bulls hammered FAMU 11-1 on Friday night.
The Rattlers (15-8) scored the winning run without putting the ball in play. With runners on 1st and 2nd and two outs in the 11th, they attempted a double steal. USF pitcher Andrew Perez spotted it and threw to second to catch the trailer in a rundown. When the lead runner rounded third and tried to score, a new rundown started between third base and home. Unfortunately, Perez didn’t cover the plate, so when catcher Tyler Dietrich moved up the line, runner Willis McDaniel got behind Dietrich and scored.
“We should have done a better job of handling that play,” said USF coach Mark Kingston. “It’s a desperation play. It’s a gadget play. We didn’t handle it well. I’ll take the blame for that one.”
The Bulls (21-3) had a chance to answer in the bottom of the 11th, but David Villar was stranded at second after a one-out double. USF managed only seven hits in the 11 innings and left nine runners on base. They were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and scored both runs on sacrifice flies.
Shane McClanahan threw another excellent game, allowing just four hits and two runs in seven innings of work. He struck out 10 and only issued one walk on 98 pitches.
“Our pitching and defense was good enough tonight. Our offense was not,” said Kingston. “We need to come out tomorrow and do a much better job offensively.”
The rubber game of the series begins at 2:00 p.m. with Peter Strzelecki (1-1, 1.66 ERA) on the mound for the Bulls. Kevin Merrell, who missed Friday and Saturday’s game with the flu, may be able to play this afternoon.