Second-seeded USF baseball got their requisite AAC baseball tournament win when they defeated the sixth-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats 9-4 in the loser’s bracket after they dropped their first game of the tournament 4-2 to seventh-seeded Wichita State.
The Bulls will face Wichita State at 9 a.m. at Robin Roberts Field and the winner will face UConn at 12:30 p.m.
SCHEDULE UPDATE: Projected inclement weather has forced adjustments to Thursday's schedule at the #AmericanBSB Championship presented by @VSPC. Stay up to date with the latest schedule changes at https://t.co/6VdOqTvAHS pic.twitter.com/njMpDzWuFr— The American (@American_Conf) May 24, 2018
LHP Shane McClanahan last pitched on May 10 against Wichita State and didn’t fare well as he gave up six earned runs and walked five batters and it looked like history was going to repeat itself in the early going. The lefty walked three Shockers in the first inning, including walking in the first run of the game.
He was able to settle in after the rough start to give the Bulls five innings of one-run ball before giving way to fellow lefty Noah Yager in the sixth inning. Yager worked three innings, but gave up the decisive runs in the seventh to give WSU a 3-1 lead.
Shortstop Coco Montes drove in both runs for the Bulls, once in the second to tie it at 1-1, then again in the seventh to make it 3-2.
Yager would give up another run in the eighth to make it 4-2 Wichita State.
The loss sent the Bulls to the back fields of the Philadelphia Phillies spring training complex to take on the Bearcats, who haven’t won a conference tournament game since 2008.
Things looked good for Cincy when they led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run to right field toward US-19 off of senior RHP Peter Strzelecki.
But like most starts this season after a loss, Strzelecki fired a gem of a game to keep the Bulls in it until their bats heated up.
The righty tossed 6 2⁄3 innings and surrendered three runs and struck out seven for his team-high 9th win of the season.
USF scored two runs in the second, two in the sixth, three in the seventh, and two more in the ninth for good measure to keep the Bearcats winless in tournament play and eliminate them, joining C. as the first two teams out.
3B David Villar went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBI, and three runs. 1B Joe Genord went 3-for-4 with a two-run HR, three RBI and two runs.