USF baseball couldn’t overcome a costly error by second baseman J.D. Dutka in the fifth inning tonight to drop the series opener with Tulane 3-2 at the USF Baseball Complex.
“Defense came up with another big error tonight that led to a couple runs. We beat ourselves,” USF head coach Billy Mohl said.
The Bulls have committed nine errors in their last four games and Mohl said the defense continues to be a work-in-progress.
“We’ve got some new guys out there and [it’s] showing up right now and we’re gonna have to work on it...and try to iron these bugs out,” Mohl said.
USF LHP Shane McClanahan gave the Bulls six solid innings tonight although Mohl wasn’t pleased with his high pitch count (119). The lefty from Cape Coral struck out 12 Tulane batters to increase his season total to 73 in 40 2⁄3 innings.
Bulls RF Garrett Zech got USF on the board in the bottom of the third inning when he hit an inside-the-park home run to dead center that bounced off the wall and bounded back toward the infield.
Tulane answered quickly in the top half of the fourth inning when 1B David Bedgood singled home left fielder Ty Johnson to make things level at one apiece. McClanahan worked himself into and out of a bases-loaded jam to escape further damage.
The Green Wave scored two in the the fateful fifth inning on the two-out error by Dutka followed by an RBI-single by Bedgood.
USF wasn’t able to capitalize on a prime scoring opportunity in the eighth when they had men on second and third with one out and on a 3-0 count, CF Duke Stunkel Jr. popped out to third for the second out followed by 3B David Villar, who flew out to LF to end the threat.
“We gave [Stunkel] the green light. Him and Villar are the two best hitters on the team,” Mohl said. “He had a chance to knock some guys in right there and he did not execute on that one but I trust him in that situation.”
The Bulls scratched across a run in the ninth with a sac fly from Dutka which scored 1B Joe Genord. DH Chris Chatfield singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch with just one out. Pinch hitters Carson Ragsdale and Alec Wisely both struck out to end the game.
USF will face Tulane tomorrow in game two of the series at 6:30 p.m. RHP Peter Strzelecki is scheduled to start.
- USF was 0-for-7 with RISP.
- LHP Kevin King threw three innings and struck out five.
- The Bulls were 0-for-10 with runners on base.