USF scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to break a 2-2 tie and went on to defeat Columbia 7-2 in the series finale Sunday afternoon at the USF Baseball Stadium.
The Bulls loaded the bases in the fourth as Hayden Kelley walked, Nik Alfonso was hit by a pitch and Kyle Teaf singled through the left side to start the frame. Zac Gilcrease hit into a double play but Kelley come across to make it a 3-2 ballgame. Portales drove home the second run of the inning on a RBI single to right field.
USF played small ball in the sixth to add an additional run which began with Teaf being hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt and ground out advanced him to third before Luke Maglich extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a RBI double to left-centerfield.
Gilcrease began the eighth inning with a triple down the right field line, his second triple in as many games. He would later score on a Buddy Putnam single through the right side. Vincent Leto capped off the scoring with a double off the right-centerfield wall allowing Daniel Portales to score and put USF in front 7-2.
“I am happy that we came back, we are 9-2 and couldn’t ask for a better start,” said head coach Lelo Prado.
“Lawrence Prado has good stuff and when there is good pitching, it shuts down a lot of good hitting. We needed some innings out of someone and he did it for us. The young guys didn’t do a bad job earlier either.”
Pardo, who was named to the Preseason National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Watch List, had his best outing of the year tossing 3.2 innings of shutout ball allowing just two hits while striking out five. Brandon Murray picked up the win in relief going 1.1 innings without surrendering a run. Jordan Strittmatter tossed a perfect ninth inning to close out the game.
Joe Adel made his first start of his career going three innings in the no-decision. He gave up two runs on five hits and a pair of walks.
Columbia had a couple of opportunities to put a big inning together but stranded the bases loaded in the first and second inning pushing across just one run on a RBI single through the left side by Robb Paller in the first.
USF scored two runs in the second inning with just one hit as Putnam, Levi Borders and Luke Borders each walked to start off the frame. Alfonso then delivered a RBI single to leftfield followed by a suicide squeeze by Teaf scoring Luke Borders and putting the Bulls ahead 2-1.
Eight different hitters picked up a base hit in the game for USF including Portales who upped his hitting streak to 10 games. Luke Borders went 1-for-1 with a pair of walks while brother Levi also drew a pair of free passes. In total, USF had eight hits and 10 walks
Will Savage and Mike Fischer both had two-hit performances for Columbia to pace the Lions. Kevin Roy (0-1) suffered the loss lasting just three innings as he allowed four runs on only one hit but walked six batters.
USF will have a day off before welcoming No. 2 Florida State to the USF Baseball Stadium for a two-game mid-week series beginning on Tuesday, March 4. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
SOURCE: USF Athletics