TAMPA, FEB. 28, 2014 – The USF baseball team dropped its first game of the season, falling 1-0 to Columbia Friday night at the USF Baseball Stadium before a crowd of 1,219.
“I’m a little disappointed,” said head coach Lelo Prado. “Jimmy Herget did a good job pitching, but when you get second and third, no outs, you have to get a run. They were giving us a run, playing the infield back, and we had two terrible at-bats there.”
“Speer is a good pitcher. He’s won regional games. But like I told the team, we’re going to see a lot of good Friday night guys, and we’ve got to do a little better.”
With many believing it would be a pitcher’s duel with a pair of quality pitchers getting the start, it lived up to the hype as USF’s Jimmy Herget and Columbia’s David Speer went toe-to-toe allowing just one run over 15 combined innings.
Columbia scored the game’s only run in the first inning which began with Jordan Serena leading off the game with a single up the middle. After a strike out, Serena stole second base and scored on a RBI single to centerfield by Aaron Silbar.
That is all Speer (1-0) would need as the left-hander went eight innings allowing just five hits and striking out eight on 102 pitches. He retired the final 15 batters he faced.
USF had its best scoring opportunity in the fourth when Luke Maglich beat out an infield single to start the frame followed by a Daniel Portales double down the leftfield line to put runners on second and third with no outs. Unfortunately for the Bulls, a fly out, strikeout and groundout ended the rally opportunity.
The Bulls didn’t get another runner on base until the ninth inning when Portales drew a two-out walk but a groundout followed to end the ballgame.
Herget (2-1) finished the game tossing seven innings allowing one run on five hits and a walk. The sophomore also struck out five. Jordan Strittmatter and Lawrence Pardo each threw a shutout inning in relief.
Zack Tax earned his first save of the season pitching a scoreless ninth inning. Serena had the lone multi-hit performance for either side going 3-for-4 scoring the game’s only run.
USF now sits at 7-1 on the year while Columbia, who won a NCAA Regional game last season, is 1-0.
The two sides will play a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at the USF Baseball Stadium.
SOURCE: USF Athletics