The No. 4 seed South Florida Bulls defeated the No. 3 seed South Alabama Jaguars 6-4 in the decisive game in the NCAA Baseball Gainesville regional to clinch their first regional title, and Super Regional appearance in program history.
Just like in the first meeting between the teams, the Jaguars struck first with a sac fly by center fielder Michael Sandle in the first inning against USF starter Dylan Burns. South Alabama added another run in the bottom of the third after Bulls 1B Riley Hogan couldn’t handle a bases loaded grounder to score another run. LHP Logan Lyle got the Bulls out of the inning without further damage.
The Bulls tied the game in the top of the fourth after left fielder Jarrett Eaton doubled in two runs. USF took the lead in the 6th with an RBI-single by Eaton. Eaton finished the day 3-for-3 with three RBI, a run, and a walk.
USF RHP Orion Kerkering threw 4.1 innings of fantastic relief pitching. He got into trouble in the 8th inning after the Bulls added another run to make it 4-2 in the top half of the inning. Two walks, an error, two wild pitches and a single cut the Bulls’ lead in half and put men on the corners with just one out. Head coach Billy Mohl went to the bullpen for LHP Joe Sanchez.
Another error by Riley Hogan loaded the bases, but a pop out to short, and a strike out preserved the lead. USF plated two more runs in the 9th on an RBI-double by pinch hitter Drew Brutcher, and a sac fly by Carmine Lane to give the Bulls a 6-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
After two quick outs, South Alabama hit a solo home run, but that was it as Sanchez got Ethan Wilson to ground out to first to clinch USF’s first regional title, and first super regional appearance in program history. USF will face Texas in the Super Regionals next week.