Live blog: Record crowd sees Bulls lose 4-3 in 10
For the second night in a row, there's a real excitement in USF's athletic district as the Bulls' new baseball stadium makes its long-awaited debut before a solid crowd of fans enjoying a great February night. As we did for softball's first game last night, we'll blog updates throughout the game chronologically, rather than the old Coveritlive chat style. If you went to tonight's game, please stop back later with your thoughts on the new stadium and the game. ...
9:45 p.m.: I did a bad job here -- was updating on Twitter, but neglected the live blog at the worst time. Pietrzyk gave up a bases-loaded walk, then got the third strikeout to keep USF down a single run in the bottom of the 10th. Bulls got two on as James Ramsay was hit by pitch and Jonathan Koscso walked, but Sam Mende went down swinging to end the game.
9:25 p.m.: Reliever Zach Pietrzyk is now in, inheriting the bases loaded and one out in the 10th. If it's Quackenbush, do you say ducks on the pond for baserunners?
9:20 p.m.: USF has announced the attendance for the night, and it's a doozy -- 3,126 fans, easily breaking the old mark of 2,517 set last season against Florida in April. Quackenbush is struggling -- after striking out seven batters in his first 2.1 innings, he's walked two, with a throwing error on a pickoff attempt and a passed ball. Add a third walk intentionally to load the bases. ...
9:05 p.m.: Quackenbush dominated in the ninth, so Bulls have a chance to get a walkoff win in the stadium opener. And we're going to the 10th, still 3-3 here. ...
9 p.m.: We're going to the ninth here. Sam Mende gets on in eighth on a HBP, but Bulls can't do anything with it.
8:50 p.m.: USF's bullpen has made things interesting -- Moran faced only three batters, leaving with two on and USF clinging to a 3-1 lead. Kevin Quackenbush got two outs but gave up an RBI single up the middle, then saw the game tied on a passed ball on a third strike. He stranded the go-ahead runner at third with a clutch strikeout, but now we're tied 3-3 in the middle of the eighth.
8:30 p.m.: Wandered about for a bit -- USF is now up 3-0 in the eighth, thanks to Daniel Rockhold's solo home run to left in the sixth. Randy Fontanez threw seven shutout innings and has moved into the top 10 on USF's career strikeouts list. Jimmy Moran now pitching. ...
7:30 p.m.: There would have been a strong turnout here regardless, but USF probably did a smart thing in making admission for the first weekend (and softball, too) free to all fans. It's a spillover crowd here, with nearly all the 1,533 seats filled and fans all over the grass berm down the third-base line. Was fun before the game to see Steve Greenbaum, husband of USF President Judy Genshaft and a regular at Bulls athletic events. Genshaft and Greenbaum announced earlier today they were donating $1-million over five years to endow scholarships for USF students to study abroad. As he humbly says, USF has given them a lot, so they're very happy to be able to give something back to the university.
7:25 p.m.: One of the quirks of having baseball and softball fields right next to each other is that eventually, a foul ball from one field will find its way to the other stadium. It'll be hard for a softball to make the baseball field of play, but a random foul ball came into the crowd in the second inning. It's not every day you're warned to watch out for foul balls in more than one direction. First double play, by the way, is from Sam Mende to Luis Llerena to Todd Brazeal.
7:20 p.m.: Freshman outfielder James Ramsay, another draft pick who chose to play for Lelo Prado, gets the first at-bat for USF, but he leads off with a pop fly to left. There's an odd piece of history next as Jonathan Koscso is hit by a pitch, setting the Bulls' career record as the 56th in his four seasons at USF. Sam Mende follows with a more memorable moment, crushing a pitch just over the right-field wall for a two-run home run, the first ever in the new stadium. Bulls lead Elon 2-0.
7:10 p.m.: Randy Fontanez, who turned down a pro contract offer to return for his senior year, has the honor of the first start in the new stadium, and after starting with two strikes, he gave up a double to right from Elon's Jake Luce. The first out came from Elon's Niko Fraser, who grounded out to USF third baseman Jonathan Koscso, who threw to first baseman Todd Brazeal. Fontanez stranded the runner at second with two more quick outs.
7:05 p.m.: As they did for softball, USF has brought back baseball alums and allowed all of them to throw out a ceremonial first pitch, bringing in waves of eight at a time -- softball coach Ken Eriksen was among the first group, and Scott Glaser, who has been as busy as anyone in these facility upgrades was part of the second group. The alums even include a few guys who could have been part of this team -- Ryan Lockwood and Stephen Hunt, who signed pro deals last summer rather than return for their senior seasons.