In a back-and-forth battle of the bullpens, the USF baseball team couldn’t overcome a three-run seventh inning in a 9-8 loss to the Houston Cougars in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Schroeder Park.
The Bulls (21-11, 5-4 AAC) opened the scoring in the first when junior Joe Genord singled home Duke Stunkel Jr. for a 1-0 USF lead.
Righty sophomore starter Collin Sullivan couldn’t get the shutdown inning however, as the Cougars struck twice in the home half of the first on a couple of sac-flies to grab a 2-1 advantage.
Sullivan went only 2.1 innings, allowing four hits, five runs, walking three and striking out just one on 52 pitches.
Trailing 6-4 in the top half of the fifth, the Bulls picked up three runs on a Coco Montes sac-fly and a couple hard hit singles from Stunkel Jr. and David Villar to regain the lead, 7-6.
Sophomore reliever Carson Ragsdale entered the game in the bottom of the fifth and held the Cougars off the scoreboard in his first two innings of work, but after Bulls tacked on an insurance run in the sixth to make it 8-6, Houston responded with three runs in the bottom half of the seventh to take a 9-8 lead.
Ragsdale, charged with the loss, allowed an RBI single and then an RBI double in the seventh before being pulled. He pitched two innings, allowing four hits, three runs and walking one on 36 pitches.
Despite finishing with 14 hits, the Bulls left a brutal 13 runners on base and couldn’t mount a late-inning comeback as the Cougars prevailed 9-8 to take the series.
USF will travel to DeLand on Tuesday for another midweek matchup against Stetson, before again hitting the road for three games against conference foe East Carolina next weekend.