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USF Jumps on Jacksonville Early, Coasts To 12-6 Win

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The Bulls scored eight runs in the first two innings to easily beat the Dolphins and win their 10th straight.

USF

USF baseball ran their winning streak to 10 with an easy 12-6 win over Jacksonville University Dolphins Tuesday night. With the victory, the Bulls (11-1) tied the mark for best start to a season with the 1982 squad that finished 45-13 and reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.

USF started the scoring in the first with a walk, hit-by-pitch, flyout, hit-by-pitch, strikeout, walk to get the first run on the board. Then LF Chris Chatfield doubled in two more to take 3-0 lead before you could blink.

The second inning was even worse for JU starting pitcher Nathan Disch.

CF Garrett Zech was hit by another pitch (for those keeping track at home, that’s three already), stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. SS Kevin Merrell continued to be “Hansel Hot” and singled in Zech, then stole second himself. 2B Coco Montes walked on four pitches. Back-to-back singles from DH Luke Borders and 3B David Villar scored Merrell and Montes to make it 6-0 USF. A balk and a groundout from RF Duke Stunkel Jr. scored two more runs and the Bulls to make it 8-0 after two.

USF starting pitcher Ryan Valdes had a solid outing, shutting out the Dolphins through five innings and striking out seven en route to his second win of the year.

1B Joe Genord said on Saturday that he got in the cage early before the game and looked at video to see why he was off to such a slow start. He said he figured it out and it paid off as he crushed a two-run homer, his second of the year, in the fourth to make it 10-0 USF. He has raised his batting average nearly 100 points since Saturday.

Fortunately the Bulls had a safe lead for most of the game, because the bullpen trio of freshmen Collin Sullivan and Carson Ragsdale and senior Mark Savarese had a night to forget. They combined to allow six runs, five hits and five walks in four mop-up innings. Certainly not what head coach Mark Kingston would like to see from three guys he has used quite a bit in the early stages of the season.

The Bulls go for their best start ever Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. against Villanova (1-9). Freshman RHP D.J. Roberts (1-0, 3.52 ERA) gets the start for USF.

Notables:

  • Merrell was named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll after last week’s performance. He was 1-for-3 with two runs, one RBI and a steal tonight.
  • Freshman infielder Nick Cerelli got his first collegiate hit and scored his first run tonight.
  • Freshman catcher Jordan Santos make his debut coming on in relief of C Tyler Dietrich. He finished 0-for-1.