Momentum: Baseball wins, softball streak now at 7
With USF baseball and softball both at home this weekend and big crowds expected as part of Saturday's "USF Day" festivities, the two teams are picking up momentum entering the weekend.
Softball (24-15) has won seven in a row, thanks to strong pitching and consistent production from the top half of the batting order. USF hasn't allowed more than three runs in any game during the winning streak, as was the case in 6-1 and 7-2 wins at Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday. The top five in the lineup went a combined 8-for-18 in the second game, while converted catcher Laura Fountain had two hits and three RBIs in the first game. The Bulls now play host to Georgetown, which has the league's worst overall record at 9-28, but is 3-2 in the Big East; next weekend they have games at Rutgers and Seton Hall, who are a combined 1-13 in conference play.
Baseball (13-15) has won three of four after a 9-4 win at Jacksonville on Wednesday, highlighted by two home runs and four RBIs from sophomore Jimmy Falla. The Bulls won despite getting just two innings and change from freshman starter Nick Gonzalez, who threw 71 pitches before leaving in the third. The bullpen, however, pitched 6.1 innings of scoreless, two-hit relief, including 3.1 innings from Zach Pietrzyk, who earned the win. Kevin Quackenbush needed just five pitches for a 1-2-3 ninth.
USF has a three-game set at home against Rutgers, which has the Big East's worst overall record at 11-16. The Scarlet Knights, like the Bulls, are 3-3 in the conference -- 10 of the league's 12 baseball teams are within one game of .500, so there's yet to be much separation, either for the league's top spots or to see which squads will be among the eight who play in Clearwater next month.