Notes: New award for Tino, more NFL Bulls pics
Lots to get to today, and we'll start with a nod to the brand-new Tino Martinez Award, given by Ping!Baseball to the top college baseball player in Division II. Martinez, of course, played at the University of Tampa and has been an active supporter of USF baseball and his brother-in-law, coach Lelo Prado.
You can learn about the award at its official site -- this year's semifinalists have been named, including UT's Mike Schwartz and Valdosta State's Brandon Decker, whom I covered in my pre-USF days when he was at Gulf High School in New Port Richey.
-- Huge weekend for USF baseball, what with the final games at Red McEwen Field and a crucial three-game series against first-place Connecticut. Tonight's starter is junior Randy Fontanez, and Prado is still hopeful that lefty Andrew Barbosa can pitch Saturday -- he was pulled in the second inning last weekend, bothered by an injury he suffered when he was hit by a pitch under his knee. Injuries have forced the Bulls to use several different Sunday starters, and Jimmy Moran is likely to get the call this weekend.
USF's Jim Louk -- who's probably seen as many games at the Red as anyone -- offers some of his favorite memories from games at the stadium in a feature on USF's site.
-- As we've mentioned, tickets for the USF-Florida game in September will be hard to come by, but USF is now taking requests from season ticket holders and donors. If you're eligible, you should have gotten an e-mail from USF already, but I'm posting the link anyway. The secondary market for tickets to this game seems to be softening a little, with upper-level tickets at Stubhub.com now as low as $105.
-- We've been linking to new pics of former USF players in their new NFL uniforms, and USF's official site has a gallery with a bunch more. I'll add to the list with new shots of the Chargers' Kion Wilson (here's another one) and a story on Carlton Mitchell from the Browns' site. Check out this video from the Dolphins' site and you'll see a few shots of receiver Taurus Johnson, who is still wearing his old No. 89.
-- The Times' Joey Knight, in writing our Freedom High spring preview, reports that new head coach Tchecoy Blount will have at least two former USF players on his staff -- Julian Johnson and Josh Balloon.
-- National Football Post includes USF's Dontavia Bogan in a preview of college football's top receivers for this fall.