Comeback special: Bulls win opener, 5-3
ST. PETERSBURG -- USF's baseball opener on Friday morning was all about comebacks, with senior Todd Brazeal getting four hits in his first game after ACL surgery, then closer Ray Delphey pitching a scoreless ninth in his first action in nearly two years to give the Bulls a 5-3 win against Ohio State in the Big Ten-Big East Challenge.
The Bulls (1-0) got solid relief from Nick Gonzalez, Adrian Puig and Delphey, with all three stranding multiple runners with clutch strikeouts in the late innings as USF held a slim lead.
There's plenty more to write from the opener -- Daniel Rockhold wore No. 63 in tribute to Lee Roy Selmon, starting a rotating honor the Bulls will continue all season. And the Bulls got a surprise early Friday morning when the team bus didn't show up as scheduled, so players drove themselves all the way to the Walter Fuller Complex in St. Petersburg for the 10 a.m. first pitch.
Rockhold had good luck wearing Selmon's number -- USF's first run came when Ohio State's third baseman sent a throw sailing into right field off a routine grounder, and then Rockhold added an RBI single as the Bulls built a 4-0 lead. Gonzalez earned the win with sparking relief, coming in with the bases loaded from starter Kyle Parker and a one-run lead and getting a strikeout to end Ohio State's rally.
USF is back in action on Saturday at 1 p.m., facing Michigan State at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater.