Cape's Mende leads 11 Bulls in summer baseball
Lots of baseball coming today, with the MLB draft resuming at noon and several Bulls underclassmen and signees expected to be taken. First, we'll offer up news on 11 USF players likely to be back next season who are participating in summer wooden-bat collegiate baseball leagues up and down the Atlantic coast.
-- We'll start with rising junior shortstop Sam Mende, who will be USF's lone representative in the prestigious Cape Cod League, playing with the Bourne Braves. Mende, who was third on the Bulls with five home runs as a sophomore, will be vying for time with two other top Big East middle infielders -- Bourne also has UConn second baseman Pierre LePage and Louisville shortstop Ryan Wright. Mende should stick around longer than last summer's USF showing at the Cape, when outfielder Ryan Lockwood played only five games with the Harwich Mariners, hitting .176. Mende's season starts Monday.
-- There are five Bulls playing in the Virginia-based Valley Baseball League, plus former USF infielder Sean Buckley, who is no longer with the Bulls after hitting .250, mostly off the bench, as a redshirt freshman. He's joined on the Staunton Braves by first baseman Todd Brazeal, who finished second on the team with 39 RBIs, and right-hander Austin Adams, who pitched just four innings as a true freshman this season. Brazeal is off to a good start, with four hits (including a home run) and five RBIs in his first two games.
The Covington Lumberjacks (yes, we've run their logo in summers past) have two Bulls -- left-hander Matt Reed, who pitched 14.1 innings with a 6.91 ERA as a sophomore, and Drew Longley, who had two home runs off the bench but hit .188 this season. He's off to a good start as well, hitting a team-best .429 in the first two games.
Rounding out the Valley players is rising junior Daniel Rockhold, who tied for the team lead with seven home runs and hit .306 in a breakout season and will play for the Woodstock River Bandits.
-- Four Bulls are playing in the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League in Maryland, all four with the Youse's Orioles. That includes Austin Knight, the junior college second baseman we wrote about Sunday. Outfielder Chad Taylor, who led the Bulls as a freshman with a .362 average in Big East play, is there, as is right-hander Jimmy Moran, who finished third among USF regulars with a 3.52 ERA in 30.2 innings, and lefty Kyle Parker, who had a 5.40 ERA in 15 innings as a redshirt freshman.
-- Finishing up the summer contingent is Trey Dahl, the left-hander from Land O'Lakes who is playing in the Florida Collegiate Summer League as a member of the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs. Dahl was third on the team with 15 appearances out of the bullpen, finishing with a 5.00 ERA in nine innings as a redshirt freshman.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the draft over the next two days ...