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Two-out kings: Bulls stay alive with 10-5 win

CLEARWATER -- Knowing its next loss would be its last of the season, USF stepped up with clutch hitting Thursday night, driving in nine runs with two outs in a 10-5 win against West Virginia in the Big East tournament at Bright House Field.

"It's a positive sign to score 10 runs and get 12 hits," said coach Lelo Prado, still frustrated by the lack of offense a night earlier in a 3-2 loss to St. John's. "For us to win, we're going to have to put some good innings together. We did that today and we won, so we live for tomorrow."

The Bulls advance to play Friday night at 7 against the loser of Thursday night's Louisville-St. John's game in another elimination game.

The Bulls (26-31) got a strong seven innings from 6-foot-8 junior left-hander Andrew Barbosa, who struck out eight and held West Virginia to six hits. For support, he got a three-run home run from Todd Brazeal in the third inning to erase a 2-0 deficit.

"When he hit the three-run home run, I got to settle down," said Barbosa, who may have pitched his last game for USF as a potential high draft pick next month. "It makes you feel better when you have the lead and you know your hitters are starting to get into the game."

 West Virginia (27-29) got within 4-3 in the fifth, but USF answered with three runs on an RBI single by Stephen Hunt and a 2-run single by Jonathan Koscso.

It was a rough night for Koscso, who nearly had to leave the game in the first inning after a foul bunt went off the side of his neck. The game was stopped for several minutes as trainers checked him, but he not only stayed in the game, but he reached base five times, driving in two runs and scoring three times. Fittingly, he set USF's career record by being hit by a pitch for the 55th time in the eighth.

USF's offense got on track with Brazeal's shot to left field, his fifth of the season. He said the Bulls were motivated to find the hits that were missing Wednesday, especially in two-out situations.

"We didn't really hit well yesterday -- it (stunk) because (starter Randy Fontanez) pitched his (butt) off," Brazeal said. "Tonight we got a lot more confidence going into tomorrow, and we're going to need a lot of confidence and everybody pulling for each other."

[Last modified: Friday, July 16, 2010 11:25am]


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