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USF baseball streak win streak at 1 month and counting

The USF baseball team topped Harvard 14-2 on Sunday for its 18th consecutive victory.

JOEY KNIGHT | Times

The USF baseball team topped Harvard 14-2 on Sunday for its 18th consecutive victory.

19

March

Consider all of baseball's quirks, and it's easy to understand why prolonged win streaks rarely occur at most levels of the game.

One microscopic strike zone, one divot in the clay, one misread fly ball can determine the outcome.

"You can get a bad hop," USF third-year coach Mark Kingston said, "it can be the difference in the ball game."

Hence the reason Kingston's presiding over one of the most astounding stretches in recent USF sports memory. Home and away, in February frigidness and summer-style humidity, against power pitchers and junk-ballers, the Bulls still have managed to win every game they've played the last month.

One month. USF (19-1) won its 18th in a row Sunday afternoon, collecting 13 hits off an overmatched Harvard pitching staff for a 14-2 romp. Two more victories, and the Bulls tie the program record established in 1991.

"I just think it means we can win games in a lot of different ways," said Kingston, whose team owns the nation's second-longest active streak (Missouri and Louisville both have won 19 in a row).

"I just think the fact that we can pitch on most days, we bring our offense on most days, we play really good defense on most days, just gives us a chance to win every day. So because of that, we've been able to put a nice streak together."

Here's a more detailed look at the streak, which can stretch to 19 when the Bulls play host to North Florida on Tuesday.

* Only three of the victories have been by one run. The only one to go extra innings was a 13-inning, 4-3 win against Toledo on March 3.

* Sunday marked the fifth game during the streak in which the Bulls have scored at least 10 runs. They tallied double-digit runs twice all of last season.

* USF is hitting .316 during the streak. For the season, five players -- SS Kevin Merrell, 2B Coco Montes, RF Duke Stunkel, 3B David Villar and DH Luke Borders -- are batting over .300.

* The Bulls have hit 17 home runs during the streak, almost half their total (36) from last season.

* The pitching staff boasts a 1.82 ERA during the 18 games. With 234 strikeouts for the year, it's on pace to fan more than 650 batters in 2017. Kingston, whose staff was decimated by injuries in 2016, said the group's effectiveness and plethora of contributors so far has been the "biggest pleasant surprise."

* USF's opponents during the streak are a combined 59-83 (.415). Only two, Iowa (10-8) and FSU (14-7), currently own a record above .500.

[Last modified: Sunday, March 19, 2017 6:59pm]

    

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