Unsung stars lead USF baseball past Miami, 4-2
TAMPA -- A pair of unlikely stars stepped up for USF on Tuesday night and the Bulls got their first win against Miami in seven years, upsetting the Hurricanes 4-2 as part of the Florida Four at Steinbrenner Field.
Left-hander Matt Reed held the Hurricanes (4-4) to one run on four hits in seven innings, and after Miami rallied to tie the game at 2-2, designated hitter Andrew Longley came through with a two-out two-run single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth.
"To beat a program like the University of Miami and really outplay them the whole game, I'm just so proud of our guys," said coach Lelo Prado, whose team lost 15-2 to the Hurricanes in this event last year. "A win like this, you have to feel good about leaving here. Hopefully we'll go on a little roll and play Friday night in that beautiful ballpark. ... Last year, we were embarrassed here. We didn't want to be embarrassed this year."
Reed, making a case to be USF's midweek (No. 4) starter, didn't get the win, but Longley made sure the Bulls did. The junior from Sickles came into the game batting just .133, with two hits in his first 15 at-bats, but he went 3-for-4 against the Hurricanes, stepping up with the game-winning single up the middle off second baseman Michael Broad's glove.
"Right before the at-bat, Prado told me just to relax, not try to do too much," Longley said. "He knows we all want to be that guy. It was my opportunity today and I just came through. It could have been any of us."
USF's Sam Mende singled to lead off the eighth, then Todd Brazeal was hit by a pitch. After a groundout, James Ramsay walked to load the bases, setting up Longley's big hit. Closer Kevin Quackenbush pitched a scoreless ninth for the save, getting Nathan Melendes to ground out to second with a runner in scoring position to end the game. USF had lost six straight to the Hurricanes, last beating them in 2004.
USF is 2-5 to open the season, and even though the Bulls were swept by No. 1 Florida and outscored 16-3 in those games to open the season, they aren't lacking for confidence.
"We know we're the best team in Florida. No doubt about it," Longley said. "Florida got away with a couple ones, and we should have put them away. We'll get them the next time we see them. We have the confidence. We know what we're capable of, and we're not going to let any other close ones slip out of our hands. ... This just solidifies it. We're a great team and we know it. We just have to continue to fight every game."