2-for-2: USF baseball playing for Big East title
We'll have lots more from softball soon here, but USF baseball also pulled off a huge pair of wins in Clearwater, getting a 2-1 win tonight to eliminate the Huskies and advance to face St. John's n the Big East championship game at noon Sunday.
Here's our story from correspondent Ian Lanphier ...
CLEARWATER -- It hasn't always been pretty, but USF has continued to find ways to stay alive in the Big East Tournament.
The Bulls (39-21) rallied with two runs -- both scored off wild pitches -- in the bottom of the seventh inning and defeated UConn (31-27) twice in one day to advance for the first time to today's final against St. John's (36-21) at noon.
"I'm just so damn proud of our kids, man," said coach Lelo Prado. "They've worked so hard. It started in the fall. It started last year, when we didn't make this tournament, so for us to be playing in the championship, it says a lot about these young men."
Huskies' second baseman LJ Mazzilli singled home a run in the sixth on a groundball that took a tough hop on USF shortstop Kyle Teaf, but the Bulls responded with the tying and go-ahead runs when UConn pitcher Dan Feehan imploded by allowing a walk and a hit, balking those runners into scoring position and throwing two wild pitches in the seventh.
Senior designated hitter Daniel Rockhold scored the first run when Feehan's pitch went to the backstop and his tag was applied late. Moments later, right fielder Jimmy Falla scored after UConn catcher Joe Pavone appeared to hesitate in chasing down the pitch, and Feehan's tag was again just late.
Earlier Saturday, USF starter Derrick Stultz threw a complete-game shutout in a 1-0 win against the Huskies. Stultz allowed just three hits and two walks and had four strikeouts on 104 pitches for his second career complete game. USF right fielder Jimmy Falla provided the game's lone run on a homer to deep left field in the fourth inning.
St. John's advanced to its third consecutive conference final with a 2-1 win over Notre Dame. Red Storm left fielder Jeremy Baltz drove in the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth, while starter Kyle Hansen struck out seven and allowed just one run in 7 1/3 innings.