USF baseball picked to finish fourth in Big East
USF baseball, which failed to make the eight-team Big East tournament last season, will face higher expectations in 2012, as the Bulls have been picked to finish fourth out of 12 teams in the preseason poll of league coaches released by the conference on Wednesday.
The Bulls, who went 25-29 overall and 13-14 in Big East play last season, are hopeful of having three pitchers back from significant injuries -- Andrew Barbosa, Derrick Stultz and Ray Delphey -- who missed all or nearly all of last season. St. John's, Louisville and Connecticut earned the top three spots in the Big East poll.
Baseball season is just six weeks away, with USF opening its 2012 season on Feb. 17 against Ohio State in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in St. Petersburg. The Bulls will also play a spring training exhibition against the New York Yankees on March 2 at Steinbrenner Field. Coach Lelo Prado earned a three-year extension in the offseason despite the fact the Bulls haven't made the NCAA Tournament in his five seasons.
Of the three teams picked ahead of USF, the Bulls get two of the three in Tampa, with Louisville coming to the Bulls' second-year stadium on April 20-22, the Bulls traveling to St. John's on May 4-6 and USF hosting Connecticut on May 11-13.