In front of a packed house at the USF Baseball Stadium, the Bulls baseball upset the #5 Florida Gators behind solid hitting and lights out pitching.
It started in the bottom of the first when 1B Joe Genord hit a bases loaded fielders’ choice to score SS Nick Gonzalez and advance 2B Jordan Santos to third. Right fielder (and former Gator) Austin Bodrato then promptly singled to right field to score Santos.
Joe Genord’s night wasn’t done as he came up in the third inning to hit a solo shot to left field. In typical Joe Genord fashion, he admired his shot and gave a ceremonial bat flip to his dugout.
DH Chris Chatfield also got into the fun, adding his own solo shot in the bottom of the 7th to give USF their fourth run of the game. Then, with one out, CF Kyle Phillips hit a double with the bases loaded to score two more to give the Bulls a 6-1 lead.
On the mound, USF used a quintet of pitchers to keep the Gators’ bats silent for most of the game. RHP Baron Stuart got the start and didn’t surrender a hit through four innings, although three errors and three walks left plenty of opportunity for UF to cut into the lead.
He was relieved by Richie Cruz in the fifth, who pitched two innings but gave up a solo shot to Jud Fabian. Cruz added two more strikeouts to USF’s total on the night before Matt Marini came in the seventh.
Marini had a short outing, throwing four balls before getting pulled for LHP Logan Lyle. After giving up a single, Lyle struck out three straight batters to escape the inning. Lyle continued to throw darts on the black, striking out another batter in the eighth before Nelson Alvarez came in to close out the ninth inning.
Alvarez threw heat all inning, getting two to pop out and the third to fan on a 2-2 count to end the game. USF pitchers were able to keep the Gators to only two hits on the night, and struck out 13 batters.
The Bulls will use this as a confidence builder, as they travel to Chapel Hill to take on the #6 UNC Tar Heels this weekend, before returning back to Tampa to take on #13 FSU at home.