Behind a late-inning comeback, the USF baseball team finished off a perfect 8-0 homestand and a three-game sweep of Army with a 5-4 walk-off win over the Black Knights on Sunday afternoon at the USF Baseball Stadium.
“It was great. We are in a good spot right now,” head coach Billy Mohl said. “Guys are playing with a lot of confidence right now, they are feeling good about themselves...but the real season starts next Friday and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The Bulls (15-6) opened the scoring in the second inning on back-to-back RBI doubles from junior catcher Tyler Dietrich and shortstop Coco Montes to make it 3-0.
Army responded in the next two innings, loading the bases in the fourth and scoring four runs, eventually grabbing their first lead of the weekend, 4-3.
Junior starter Alec Wisely was pulled in the fourth after allowing all four runs, nine hits and striking out three on 71 pitches.
Trailing 4-3 at the stretch, the Bulls rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh when Chris Chatfield drew a leadoff walk and came all the way around to score. Junior second baseman J.D. Dutka sac-bunted Chatfield into scoring position before an egregious Black Knights error at first base allowed the tying run to come across.
Junior reliever Andrew Perez, credited with the win, entered the game in the top of the eighth and struck out all four Army batters he faced on just 15 pitches to keep the game even.
In the bottom of the ninth, Dutka and Kyle Phillips singles put two Bulls on with two outs before both runners were moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Junior outfielder Garrett Zech laced a single into left a few pitchers later to clinch the Bulls’ eighth straight win.
“The guys hitting in front me did a great job of getting on base,” Zech said. “I just went up with a plan, stuck to it on both pitches and I executed properly to get it done. I’m feeling good at the plate and seeing the ball wall.”
The Bulls will head to Jacksonville on Tuesday for a quick midweek game with UNF before opening up American Athletic Conference play at home on Friday night against UConn.