Sweep: Streaking Bulls beat Irish again
I interviewed USF shortstop Addison Maruszak on Wednesday, and I didn't run this quote in the story that ran Thursday because it seemed too pie-in-the-sky for a team that hadn't swept any Big East opponent in Lelo Prado's two seasons with the Bulls.
"If we sweep this weekend, we carry a lot of momentum into the tournament," Maruszak said. "Right now, we're worried about one game at a time, but hopefully we can come out with a sweep this weekend."
USF is picking the right time to play its best baseball, as the Bulls got their first Big East sweep of the season, rallying from an 8-0 deficit to beat Notre Dame 9-8 on Saturday.
The Bulls (29-25) finish 14-13 in Big East play, and because West Virginia lost 14-9 on Saturday to Cincinnati, the Mountaineers finish 13-14 in the conference, so USF is the sixth seed in the Big East tournament, which starts Tuesday in Clearwater.
It's USF's first conference sweep in two seasons under coach Lelo Prado, and the Bulls' first since a sweep of Seton Hall in 2006. The Bulls should get a fourth shot at Notre Dame on Tuesday, as the standings show USF will play the Fighting Irish in the opening round at 8 p.m.
USF used former closer Shawn Sanford in a rare start Saturday, and Notre Dame tagged him for seven runs -- two earned -- in the first three innings. The Bulls rallied back with six runs in the fifth, including a three-run home run by Joey Angelberger, his fourth home run in four games, and a two-run shot from Brian Hobbs.
The game was tied in the eighth inning when the Bulls came up with a run in much the same way they scored the game-winner in the 16th inning Friday night. Maruszak was hit by a pitch to open the inning -- extending USF's school record and nation-leading total -- and he advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Stephen Hunt. Maruszak got to third on a groundout by Brian Hobbs, and then freshman Junior Carlin, who had the game-winning RBI on Friday, hit a single to bring in the go-ahead run.