Yankees give Bulls a loss to remember
TAMPA – Call it the most enjoyable 11-4 loss in USF baseball history.
The Bulls got a memorable brush with celebrity Friday afternoon at Legends Field, playing a spring training exhibition against the New York Yankees. And while USF managed only two hits, the Bulls made the most out of those moments.
The big hit came in the sixth inning, when Yankees pitcher Kei Igawa walked two batters, then hit USF’s Addison Maruszak to load the bases. Bulls coach Lelo Prado pinch-hit senior Eric Baumann, an Armwood graduate whose last hit came at Duke in 2005, before he missed two seasons with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Baumann sent the first pitch over the left-field wall, putting USF on the scoreboard and himself into a small piece of history.
"It's been a while since I've had a feeling like that," Baumann said. "It's surreal. I knew I hit it hard, so I just started running. I heard the crowd and looked up. I thought 'It's unbelievable I just did that.'"
If Baumann’s hit was the biggest, then Mike Consolmagno’s single up the middle in the fourth might have been the most appreciated. The senior from Staten Island had 40 relatives and friends who flew in from New York, all sitting in the upper deck behind third base, decked in white T-shirts bearing his name and his No. 4.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the kids,” said his father, Tom Consolmagno, from the stands. “Mike’s been a Yankees fan since birth. It’s such a great experience, because we’re a baseball family. There’s nothing better than to have our family all here.”
Mike Consolmagno said he was starstruck the whole game, especially when he made it to first base and found himself chatting with former American League MVP Jason Giambi.
“He was like all ‘Good job,’ I wanted to hug him, I was so excited,” he said. “But I relaxed and just said, ‘Oh, what’s going on?’ tried to make like it was just cool.”
Martinez, in his second season as a Bulls volunteer assistant, is also working as a guest instructor with the Yankees this spring. He showed up in pinstripes, though Prado said he spent more time with the Bulls.
“I can't pay him as much as they do. That's the problem," Prado said.
Even the awkward moments came off fine, like when Bulls starter Shawn Sanford, facing his second batter in the opening innings, plunked Yankees star Derek Jeter in the left elbow.
“After I got into the dugout, the guys were all laughing and it turned into ‘I hope I didn’t hurt him.’ He’s the starting shortstop in the All-Star Game,” Sanford said. “He took his time getting over to first, let me know I hit him pretty good. … Joey (Angelberger) said he said ‘It’s going to happen all year.’ I guess he shrugged it off, which is good.”