CLEARWATER — USF baseball is alive and well in the American Athletic Conference tournament, as ace Jimmy Herget threw a complete game to lead the Bulls to a 2-1 win over top-seeded Louisville on Friday afternoon at Bright House Field.
"I knew I had to come out here like the season depended on it," said Herget, a sophomore from Jefferson High who had a 2-1 lead in the ninth against Louisville three weeks ago, only to give up a home run.
The fifth-seeded Bulls (27-30), who lost 10-0 to Rutgers in their tournament opener, have a chance to advance to Sunday's conference championship game. USF needs Louisville (44-14) to beat Rutgers this afternoon, then the Bulls would need to win against eighth-seeded Memphis.
Herget, who lowered his season ERA to 1.24, got defensive help down the stretch, with leftfielder Buddy Putnam making a leaping grab at the wall in the eighth and catcher Levi Borders throwing out a runner trying to steal second in the ninth.
"That guy's good enough to pitch against anybody in America, and he proved it again," said coach Lelo Prado, who won't be back after this season and is moving into a new role as an associate athletic director.
The Bulls trailed 1-0 in the first inning but tied the score in the third inning. Luke Maglich sparked a two-out rally with a walk, advancing on Austin Lueck's single and scoring on Kyle Teaf's single to centerfield. The Bulls took the lead in the fourth as Zac Gilcrease singled, reached second on Buddy Putnam's sacrifice bunt, then scored on Luke Borders' single to left.
"We've got to take care of our business, but we have to pull for Louisville," Prado said. "It's a good team to pull for."
In other games Friday, Memphis defeated No. 4 Rutgers 5-1, and No. 3 Houston had a season-high 20 hits in a 13-8 victory over No. 2 UCF.