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USF Bulls baseball beats host Florida Gators 5-3

GAINESVILLE — USF senior catcher Andrew Longley, a former Sickles standout, hit two solo home runs, and the Bulls held off a late rally to earn a 5-3 win over Florida on Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium.

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The victory was the first for USF over Florida, ranked No. 5 by Baseball America, since 2005. UF had won the previous 12 meetings.

"It was a great win, a huge win for us and our program," USF coach Lelo Prado said. "I'm so proud of this team, so glad for the seniors, and I'm just glad for USF."

The Bulls (28-14) jumped to an early 2-0 lead on two unearned runs. Longley's homer in the top of the sixth gave the Bulls a 3-0 lead, before the Gators rallied in the sixth. Shortstop Nolan Fontana homered to open the inning, then catcher Mike Zunino's two-run homer tied it. That was the Gators' nation-leading 54th of the season.

But the Bulls, tied for first in the Big East with UConn and St. John's, took the lead again off an RBI single by Jimmy Falla to score Alex Mendez, who walked to open the inning. USF pitcher Matt Reed went 5 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and three runs.

"Matt Reed was the best guy to pitch tonight," Prado said. "He's been solid for us all year and he had another great outing against a great club."

The Gators (31-10) loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but it wasn't enough.

"We couldn't get things going offensively," UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "Matt Reed did a nice job. I think we hit 13 fly ball outs and we struck out four times so 17 of the outs were fly balls and strike outs. When you work with only 10 quality outs, it's tough to score runs."

Football

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — John L. Smith knows Arkansas, knows the expectations for a powerful program rocked by a scandal that cost Bobby Petrino his job. Smith intends to keep the Razorbacks in the thick in the SEC and national title races.

"Our expectations here are the same," Smith said at his introductory news conference.

Smith, 63, an assistant for Arkansas the last three seasons under Petrino, is back after leaving the school in December to become head coach at Weber State. Athletic director Jeff Long announced a 10-month, $875,000 deal. Petrino was fired April 10 for not disclosing an affair with a woman he hired as his assistant.

BCS MEETINGS: The conference commissioners in charge will meet today and Thursday in South Florida to weigh four options. A final decision isn't expected from this round.

FLORIDA: Starting linebacker Ronald Powell had knee surgery Monday for a torn ACL sustained in the spring game. Coach Will Muschamp said the surgery went well and Powell has a chance to return this season.

Basketball

BAYLOR: Freshman Quincy Miller changed his mind and is declaring for early entry in the NBA draft.

FIU: Forward Dominique Ferguson is entering the NBA draft, saying he's unhappy about the firing of Isiah Thomas as coach, and unable to get permission to talk to other schools.

NORTH TEXAS: Marquette assistant Tony Benford was hired as coach.

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com. Information from Times wires was used in this report.

USF Bulls baseball beats host Florida Gators 5-3 04/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 11:26pm]

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