Bulls already busy with summer baseball season
It's time for another annual rite of summer -- poring over countless online rosters to canvas small towns across the country, looking for where USF baseball players are playing summer baseball.
Everyone knows about the Cape Cod League -- USF doesn't have anyone there this summer -- but there are a ton of other summer leagues, where players can hone their skills against other college players to get a head start on 2012. I know of six Bulls playing summer ball -- Lelo Prado asked many players to stay in Tampa and hit the weight room (and classroom) to get in shape for next season.
Alex Mendez and James Ramsay, Florida Collegiate Summer League: Two potential outfield starters next year are teammates for the Sanford River Rats -- Mendez is off to a .321 average in his first six games, including a home run and four RBIs; Ramsay is hitting .286, going 3-for-6 in his last two games.
Joe Lovecchio, Florida Collegiate Summer League: Have I mentioned Lovecchio before? He's a right-hander who pitched at Miami, then spent last season at Seminole State College, where he had a 3.30 ERA in 30 innings, with a 2-2 record, 19 strikeouts and 11 walks. He's finishing summer classes and pitching for the DeLand Suns -- off to a rough start, with an 0-2 record and 12.71 ERA so far.
Matt Reed, Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League: Reed, one of USF's top returning pitchers next season, is pitching for the Licking County Settlers and will get his first start in the Settlers' home opener on Sunday.
Nick Gonzalez, Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League: Gonzalez, who struggled as a freshman, going from the opening rotation to barely pitching in Big East play, gets a chance to find his pitching rhythm with the Glen Falls Golden Eagles. He has a friend of Prado's keeping an eye on him in former Eckerd coach John Mayotte, the Golden Eagles' manager.
Austin Adams, Valley Baseball League: Adams has pitched sparingly in his time at USF, but he's off to a good start in Virginia with the Staunton Braves -- a 1.42 ERA in his first three appearances, with a win and six strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
One more 2012 Bulls player was slated to play summer ball -- junior college transfer Roderick "Rock" Shoulders was going to play for the Rockville Express of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League in Maryland, but has decided to get an early start on his studies at USF, enrolling for Summer B classes that start at the end of the month. We'll check back on these guys, as well as another look at Bulls in the minors next week ...