Notes & links: Baseball wins, graduation today
Spring graduation at USF is today, and that group includes 40 Bulls student-athletes, with four football players -- Chris Robinson, Ben Busbee, Andrew Ketchel and walk-on Jeffrey "Pookie" Wilson -- getting their degrees. The group includes five baseball players, four from women's basketball and three from men's -- the squads with the most were men's track (7) and softball (6).
-- Baseball ace Randy Fontanez has struggled to get run support all season, but he got it Friday night, as USF (22-24) hit three home runs (Stephen Hunt, Todd Brazeal and Chad Taylor) in a 13-4 win at St. John's. Both teams came in at 12-6 and tied for fourth in the Big East standings -- the Bulls are now alone in fourth and just two games out of first with eight games remaining, including three at home next week against first-place Connecticut.
-- When is a political gaffe painful for the speaker and listener? When gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink mistakenly addressed a UCF graduation audience as "USF" -- at least twice -- drawing boos from the crowd. It's another sign of a good college rivalry when both sides feel disrespected when confused for the other ...
-- Rare local appearance for former USF football coach Jim Leavitt on Friday, as he was named as part of the new St. Petersburg Sports Alliance, which will work to bring sporting events to town. Bay News 9 caught up with Leavitt in this video interview -- he's not saying too much, but is keeping a positive outlook about getting back into coaching.
-- Haven't found a pic yet, but you can see video footage of former USF linebacker Kion Wilson at the Chargers' minicamp this weekend. Check out around the 2:15 mark in this video from Chargers.com and you'll see Wilson's familiar No. 42.
-- Few days late with this, but SI.com's Andy Staples offers his post-spring top 25 -- quite a Big East presence, with Pittsburgh at No. 16, Cincinnati at No. 19, Connecticut at No. 24 and West Virginia "just missing the cut." You won't see three or four ranked Big East teams in the national preseason polls this fall, but it's a far cry from last year, when the team didn't have any teams ranked.
-- The Orlando Sentinel is counting down all 120 Division I-A football teams from the bottom, so fans can get a closer look at No. 118, Western Kentucky, which comes to Tampa to face the Bulls this fall. My guess is that Florida Atlantic is the next Bulls opponent unveiled ...
-- Rough second round for USF freshman Shena Yang, who is playing in the NCAA East Regional in Greenville, N.C. -- she had a double-bogey and four bogeys in a span of five holes on the way to an 8-over-par 81, dropping to 83rd in the field.
-- Frank and Carol Morsani, among USF's most generous donors, are getting honorary doctorates from their alma mater, Oklahoma State, this weekend.
-- Remember Steve Goins, the basketball recruit from Chicago who looked at USF but opted for Maryland? An unventful two years there, and apparently he's transferring out ... Maryland remains one of USF's more active head-to-head rivals in recruiting, having landed players like guards Pe'Shon Howard and Haukur Palsson, who were also USF targets.
-- Lots of USF connections in this Robin Roberts story from Atlantic City, N.J.