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USF Baseball Opens First Road Series With 9-6 Victory Over Houston

The Bulls left Florida for the first time this season, and it went pretty well.

Powered by the long ball and a five-run fourth inning, the USF baseball team kicked off a seven-game road trip with a 9-6 win over the Houston Cougars on Friday night at Schroeder Park.

The Bulls (21-9, 5-2 AAC) opened up the scoring in the first inning on a David Villar solo homer with two outs to make it 1-0 early. Villar also launched a three-run bomb as part of a five-run fourth to make 8-0 USF. The third baseman finished the game 2-for-4 with four RBI and two homers.

Left-handed ace Shane McClanahan got his usual Friday night start and mowed down eight Cougars hitters in 6.2 innings pitched, allowing three hits and walking five on 114 pitches. McClanhan ran into trouble in the seventh inning, where he was pulled after loading the bases.

Houston (17-12, 4-3 AAC) scored four times in the seventh to make things interesting and trim the Bulls lead to 9-6. McClanahan was charged with five earned runs, while junior reliever Richie Cruz allowed the other giving up two more hits in the seventh.

Second baseman J.D Dutka finished an impressive 3-for-4 with an RBI double to give USF a ninth run in the top half of the seventh. As a team, the Bulls smashed a total of 13 hits in the game.

Junior lefty Andrew Perez finished it off for USF, pitching the final two innings, scattering just two hits and striking out five on a smooth 40 pitches.

The Bulls and Cougars will return for Game 2 of the series on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. RHP Peter Strzelecki is slated to get the ball for USF.