Roundup: USF baseball bounces back with 20-2 win
Lots to get to from a busy Saturday for USF's athletic department, but we'll start with opening day for Bulls baseball, which bounced from a 10-1 loss to Louisville with a 20-2 rout of Purdue in Clearwater on Saturday night.
Centerfielder James Ramsay, who sat out the opener due to a violation of team rules, made up for it in the nightcap, with a home run and four RBIs to spark a 20-hit effort for the Bulls (1-1). Catcher Chris Norton had four hits, Nik Alfonso had three hits and four RBIs, and Joey Lovecchio pitched five shutout innings for the win, with freshman Jimmy Herget adding four innings of one-hit relief.
Nick Gonzalez got the nod in the opener and didn't make it out of the first inning, and Louisville led 10-0 before the Bulls added a late run in what is officially a nonconference game, added after Michigan dropped out of the Big East-Big Ten Challenge, which wraps up for USF with Indiana in Dunedin on Sunday at 1.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: As expected, USF got an easy home win against Seton Hall, winning 67-56 to improve to 17-7 overall and 6-5 in Big East play. USF got double-doubles from center Akila McDonald and guard Courtney Williams, each with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Smith twins, Andrea and Andrell, had a rough day -- Andrell went 0-for-6 from the field and went scoreless despite seven assists; Andrea only took four shots in 24 minutes and finished with more turnovers (five) than points (two).
Ahead is a huge five-game stretch, starting at No. 10 Louisville and at home against No. 23 Syracuse on Saturday. Either would be a huge win, and the Bulls may need a pair of road wins against Rutgers (5-6 in Big East, RPI 52) and in the finale at Georgetown (4-8, RPI 38). There's always UConn (RPI 2), which comes to Tampa on March 3 -- get to 20 wins, then take one in the Big East tournament, USF would have a good case for the NCAAs.
SOFTBALL: Bulls dropped two on Saturday, first falling to No. 4 Tennessee 11-0, then committing three errors in a 2-1 loss to N.C. State. USF (5-3) held close with the Vols, taking a shutout into the sixth inning, but Tennessee found its bats in the final two innings. Sophomore D'Anna Devine had two hits in each game, even getting a look in the leadoff spot in the second game.
TRACK: Three Bulls earned conference titles at the Big East indoor meet -- Monique Williams and Neaman Wise swept the long jump for the Bulls, and Drew Volz won the pole vault, with teammate Wyatt Metzger taking second, each with personal-best clearances. USF's men sit in first place in the points standings and the women's team is second after the opening day of competition.
RECRUITING: We'll get more on this once it's official, but Kennard Swanson, a 6-foot, 245-pound fullback from Lakeland Lake Gibson, committed to USF as a late addition to the Bulls' signing class, his high school coach said Saturday night. Swanson, who chose USF over Central Florida after visiting the Knights on Thursday, still has work to do in the classroom to get academically qualified, but coach Keith DeMyer said he's optimistic Swanson can be at USF this fall.