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USF Baseball Muzzles UConn 8-4 Behind Five-Run Sixth Inning

The bats came alive in the sixth inning for the Bulls on their way to the first conference win of the Billy Mohl Era.

Nathan Bond/The Daily Stampede

After a huge second inning doomed USF baseball last night versus the UConn Huskies, the Bulls returned the favor with a five-run sixth inning on their way to an 8-4 victory Saturday night at the USF Baseball Complex.

The Bulls threatened to score in the home half of the first inning after SS Coco Montes led things off with a single up the middle. CF Duke Stunkel Jr. drew a walk and after 3B David Villar struck out, 1B Joe Genord got plunked to load the bases.

DH Chris Chatfield had an excuse me swing back to the pitcher for a fielders choice and 2B J.D. Dutka flew out to end the inning.

The Huskies responded by scoring two runs in the second inning on just one hit but they were aided by two errors by catcher Tyler Dietrich and Dutka.

USF would get both runs back in the bottom of the second when Montes drilled a triple to deep right-center field to score Dietrich then Stunkel singled in Montes to knot things at two.

UConn scored a run in the third and a run in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead into the sixth inning. The Bulls had the bases loaded again in the fourth and came up empty and it started to feel like one of those nights at the plate.

Then the sixth inning happened.

RF Garrett Zech bombed a triple to center and Dietrich walked on four straight pitches. UConn starter Mason Feole was pulled and the floodgates opened for USF.

“Getting Mason Feole out of the game,” Bulls head coach Billy Mohl said was the turning point of the game. “He’s really good. He’s erratic. He’ll throw a ball off the backstop then paint one on the inside. He just gives really uncomfortable at-bats for our hitters. We had numerous opportunities to put the game out of reach early but we just couldn’t get it done.

USF RHP Peter Strzelecki threw six solid innings, gave up three earned runs, and struck out five Huskies to earn his fourth win of season.

“It was OK,” Mohl said of Strzelecki’s start. “I’ve seen better out of Pete. He left some balls elevated up in the zone and they did some damage on it. His command was not as good as it has been. But, with Pete, you know you’re gonna get him to go out there and battle and that’s what he did tonight.”

Junior RHP Richie Cruz threw 1 23 innings of relief before giving way to junior LHP Kevin King for last 1 13 innings to close things out.

Cruz has been a revelation for the Bulls so far this season. He has a 0.82 ERA through 11 innings and has struck out 14 batters as well.


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Nathan Bond/The Daily Stampede