Powered by a three-run sixth inning, the No. 24 USF Bulls held on a for 3-2 win over Memphis in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon at the USF Baseball Stadium.
“This was just a gritty performance by our guys,” head coach Billy Mohl said. “We did not play our best baseball this weekend and we had to grind this one out. The guys were resilient, they fought hard and the pitching staff did a good job shutting them down.”
The last-place Tigers (15-30, 2-13 AAC) used a couple walks and a single in the first inning to grab an early 1-0 lead off USF starter Collin Sullivan.
Memphis was undoubtedly shorthanded as nearly the entire Tigers squad fell victim to a bad case of food poisoning from the night before.
Today's lineup is an interesting one, as a bout of stomach illness has hit the team and staff. First pitch at 10 AM (CT). #GoTigersGo pic.twitter.com/BkYMnfvJds— Memphis Baseball (@MemphisBaseball) April 29, 2018
The Bulls sophomore starter went 5.2 innings, allowing just two hits and the one run while striking out five and walking two.
Still trailing 1-0, USF scratched across three runs in the bottom of the sixth when J.D Dutka and Kyle Phillips opened the inning with back-to-back singles and Garrett Zech reached on a fielding error to put the Bulls on the board.
A two-run single by junior shortstop Coco Montes a few at-bats later made it 3-1 and pushed the Bulls ahead for good.
USF again turned to lefty reliever Noah Yager in the middle innings and he was again lights out. The sophomore went 1.2 innings and allowed just one hit and one run while striking out three.
Memphis got one back in the eighth after Alec Wisely entered with runners on the corners and was called for a balk that trimmed the Bulls lead to just 3-2.
Junior lefty Andrew Perez slammed the door in the ninth though, retiring the Tigers in order for his ninth save of the season to secure the weekend series.
“It’s important. These guys know where they want to go and that’s something you have to try and do each week is win series,” Mohl added. “Every weekend is very important, we’ve got two left and need to finish strong.”
USF (29-15, 11-7 AAC) will have the week off before finishing the regular season on the road with midweek matchups at No. 1 Florida (May 8) and FGCU (May 15) sandwiched in between the two final conference series at Wichita State and Cincinnati.
Notable: Seniors Recognized
- Starting pitcher Peter Strzelecki, outfielders Duke Stunkel Jr. and Cam Crabbe, as well as injured catcher Levi Borders were all honored prior to first pitch.
.@USFBaseball honored its 4 seniors prior to 1st pitch today vs. Memphis (L to R): @_PistolPete11, Duke Stunkel Jr., @KillaPrime, Levi Borders pic.twitter.com/JvH9cUfOlR— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) April 29, 2018