Prado: Ace Fontanez to rest this weekend
USF split a pair of 11-6 games with North Florida on Tuesday night at Red McEwen Field, the last home games of any kind for the Bulls this school year.
The Bulls (32-20) leave in the morning for a huge three-game series at Louisville, knowing that just one win in three games will give them the Big East's regular-season crown and the top seed in next week's conference tournament in Clearwater.
If there was any doubt which is more important to coach Lelo Prado -- getting a win this weekend or putting his team in optimal position to win next week -- that was cleared up after the game, when Prado said he will not be using sophomore ace Randy Fontanez at Louisville, so as to give him more rest for a start in the tournament opener next Tuesday.
The Bulls will slide their next two starters up one spot, with sophomore Derrick Stultz and junior Shawn Sanford getting the nod on Thursday and Friday night. If the Bulls get the win they need to clinch the regular-season title, Prado said he'll likely pitch by committee on Saturday, making sure that every arm on his staff is available for use during the conference tournament.
Tuesday saw the completion of a game suspended by weather last week in Jacksonville -- UNF restarted with a 7-6 lead in the fifth and dominated, holding the Bulls to one hit in the remainder of the game.
USF came alive in the second game, striking for six runs in the first inning -- including two runs on bases-loaded hit batsmen. Seven UNF pitchers combined to hit the Bulls seven times, still two short of the school record set last season. Ryan Lockwood and Todd Brazeal had three hits each for USF, as did Sam Mende, who had a three-run double and an RBI triple. Starter Teddy Kaufman -- who technically was the starter in the first game, which began a week ago -- struck out eight Ospreys in picking up his third win of the season.