Baseball takes costly 6-3 loss at West Virginia
Winning on the road is never an easy thing, but USF baseball missed an opportunity to move into a tie for first place in the Big East standings on Thursday night, falling 6-3 at West Virginia to open its final series of the regular season.
USF (33-19, 16-9 in Big East) faced a Mountaineers team that came in just 2-13 against the top seven teams in the league standings, and facing the pitching staff with the league's worst team ERA at 6.31, was outhit 13-6. The bottom six batters in USF's lineup went a combined 1-for-18, and starter Andrew Barbosa gave up nine hits in five innings.
To make matters worse, first-place St. John's lost to Seton Hall, so a Bulls win would have put USF in a three-way tie for first with two games left in the regular season. Louisville outlasted Pittsburgh 6-5 in 12 innings, so the Cardinals and Red Storm are now tied for first at 17-8, while USF and Seton Hall are tied for third at 16-9, one game back.
USF could still earn a share of the Big East regular-season title, and it's unlikely they'll be seeded any lower than fourth in next week's Big East tournament in Clearwater. But as a team on the national bubble for an NCAA at-large berth, USF needs every win it can get, or else the Bulls may have to win that tournament to make their first NCAA appearance in 10 years.
The three-game series with West Virginia continues Friday night and wraps up Saturday afternoon, with tournament play starting Wednesday in Clearwater.