Notes: Late leads lost, NFL combine, Arena ball
Tough Friday night for USF athletics, as baseball and softball had big wins within their reach but couldn't hold on against tough opponents. Baseball saw ace Randy Fontanez hold his own against Ohio State's Alex Wimmers, a potential high first-round pick, but a 2-1 lead couldn't hold up and the Buckeyes won 4-2 on the first day of the Big East/Big Ten Challenge.
Softball, with key parts of its lineup sidelined with a virus, still had a 7-6 lead in the seventh inning at Arizona State, but the Wildcats rallied for an 8-7 win in extra innings. You know some of Ken Eriksen's pitching options aren't available when he leaves starter Brittany Bowles in for the entire game -- she nearly won despite giving up 15 hits in seven-plus innings. The Bulls (5-5) will play a doubleheader today to finish out the series.
-- If you don't get the NFL Network at home, you can still watch the NFL combine workouts at NFL.com -- looks like USF receiver Carlton Mitchell will be running the 40-yard dash on Sunday morning as the first big event for six Bulls in attendance. Mitchell, listed at 6-4 at USF, measured in at 6 feet 2 7/8 inches, and as we reported last week, and impressive 215 pounds. Lots of buzz around Mitchell this week ...
-- We'll live-blog from tonight's USF-Providence men's basketball game, so check back and let us be part of your game experience -- it's on Ch. 28 in the Tampa area with tip at 7 p.m. ...
-- We tweeted this but didn't mention it here -- Hollywood Chaminade linebacker Ruben Narcisse, who visited USF with teammate and friend Hans Louis right before signing day but didn't get an offer from the Bulls, said he's signing with Wyoming. ... One more note -- lineman Jatavious Jackson, who redshirted while on scholarship at USF in 2008, then was a walk-on for the first half of last season, says he'll be playing this fall at I-AA Florida A&M.
-- Expect to see more USF presence in Arena Football, with some of the bigger names from last season's summer NFL camps getting a look there. Huey Whittaker and Richard Clebert are expected to play clear across the country for the Spokane Shock in Washington, and offensive lineman Ryan Schmidt will be with the Orlando Predators starting next month. Defensive end Terrence Royal is the only Bulls alum listed with the Tampa Bay Storm, but there could be more -- a few obscure names from the team's open tryout last weekend -- receivers J.B. Garris and Justin Wilkins, cornerback Bruce Gipson and defensive end Chris Daley. Not sure if any of those will get invites to preseason camp with the Storm.
-- Sounds like USF running back Mike Ford intends to transfer to a small school and play this fall, rather than try the NFL's supplemental draft. One school that's already come up is Division II North Alabama, a popular destination for I-A transfers because Terry Bowden is the head coach there. Good read from the Bradenton Herald's Alan Dell on Ford and his future.