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USF Beats Toledo 4-3 on a Walk-Off Walk in the 13th

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The bats went cold for the Bulls but were still able to eek out a win.

Nathan Bond/The Daily Stampede

USF Baseball won an ugly 13-inning game 4-3 over Toledo Friday night, and did so with a walkoff walk. But a win is a win and the Bulls are now 8-1 on the year.

“We could’ve lost that game about three times but we didn’t give in,” head coach Mark Kingston said. “I’ll never trade a win for a loss, but we’re also seeing things we need to continue to get better at.”

The Bulls loaded the bases twice in extra innings, once in the 11th and then again in the 13th. Both innings the Bulls loaded them up without the benefit of a hit. From the fourth inning on USF only registered one hit, a SS Kevin Merrell double in the ninth.

In the 13th, the poor defense that has plagued Toledo all season (16 errors coming into Friday) reared its head again. A high pop up by CF Garrett Zech to second base fell to the ground and allowed Zech to advance to second. The Rockets then intentionally walked Merrell. Zech and Merrell pulled off a double steal to put men on second and third for 2B Coco Montes, but after falling behind 3-0, he was intentionally walked to load the bases. With one out and 3-2 count, DH Luke Borders drew a walk and scored Zech for the winning run.

“We just have to chalk it up to a tough night to hit, [Toledo] did a good enough job keeping us off-balance,” Kingston said. “Right now, we’re a pitching and defense team, we’re a team that doesn’t give in. But, our offense needs to improve.”

USF got to Toledo starter Steven Calhoun early, scoring two runs in the first inning, but he settled down and surrendered just two hits in his last five innings of work.

Bulls starter RHP Phoenix Sanders went 6.1 innings, giving up seven hits, three runs and striking out nine. He has 27 K’s in 18.1 IP in 2017.

USF faces Toledo tonight at 6:30 p.m. LHP Shane McClanahan (1-0, 0.00 ERA) faces LHP Ross Achter (1-1, 0.90 ERA)

Notables:

  • Merrell tied his career high with four walks.
  • RHP Joe Cavallaro pitched 4.2 scoreless innings to drop his ERA to 0.75 on the year.
  • The Bulls walked 12 times as a team. Merrell, Montes, Borders and Villar combined for 10 of the 12.