Teddy K: Kaufman fans 14 as Bulls shut out UCF
It got lost a bit Tuesday night in the football and basketball news, but senior lefty Teddy Kaufman had a dominating start in USF's game at Central Florida, striking out 14 batters and throwing a four-hit shutout in the Bulls' 4-0 win in Orlando.
"Kaufman pitched an unbelievable game, the best he's pitched in college," said coach Lelo Prado. "And the bats are starting to come around, and we've really had some guys step up. This could be a win that turns us around."
The win is USF's second straight, improving the Bulls' record to 5-12 heading into a three-game home series against Mercer, which has won nine of 10 games and has a 13-5 record this season. USF got 10 hits and played error-free baseball -- with two double plays and only two walks, Kaufman faced only four more batters than the minimum.
Kaufman's 14 strikeouts are just three off the school record of 17, set by Mark Moore in 1978 and Jon Alexander in 1987. It's been a while since a Bulls pitcher struck out 14 -- the last time anyone fanned even 12 was Casey Hudspeth against Seton Hall in 2006.
USF has won these last two without some key contributors -- shortstop Sam Mende will miss three to four weeks with a broken jaw after being hit with a fastball in Saturday's loss to Eastern Illinois. Mende actually finished the game, but had so much swelling Sunday it was clear his jaw was broken.
"He looked like Muhammad Ali hit him," Prado said.
In Mende's absence, Jonathan Koscso will play short, with Daniel Rockhold at third base. Closer Ray Delphey will also be out about two weeks with a shoulder injury, meaning he'll likely miss the first Big East series against Notre Dame on March 26-28. Prado said he'll stick with Randy Fontanez, Andrew Barbosa and Matt Stull for his weekend rotation against Mercer.