CLEARWATER — With its season on the line, USF stayed alive in the Big East baseball tournament, beating West Virginia 11-5 Thursday at Bright House Field.
The No. 6 seed Bulls (31-26) took an early lead and made it stand up, advancing to play No. 2 seed Cincinnati today for the second time in three days. The Bulls lost 11-1 in seven innings on Wednesday.
USF must beat the Bearcats twice today to reach Saturday's championship round. Play begins at 1 p.m.
"(Cincinnati) and Louisville are the two hottest teams in the conference," USF coach Lelo Prado said. "They beat us last time, and we've got to step up or they'll beat us again."
USF senior first baseman Joey Angelberger hit a three-run homer on the first pitch he saw in the first inning.
"We got off to a slow start offensively (Wednesday), so to come out and get three in the first was big," Angelberger said.
After not allowing a hit and striking out four in the first three innings, freshman pitcher Randy Fontanez allowed three hits and three runs in the fourth, when the Mountaineers cut into a four-run lead.
He finished with six strikeouts and one walk in six innings.
"Randy is a competitor," Prado said. "He's getting a lot of experience that will be valuable for the next couple of years."
The Bulls answered in the fifth as freshman Junior Carlin and junior Chris Rey scored to give USF a 6-3 lead.
Bulls freshman centerfielder Junior Carlin was hit in the back with a pitch in the second, and left in the seventh. He was 2-of-3 with two doubles and a walk.
The Bulls are 1-3 against the Bearcats this season.
"We've got to come out intense," Angelberger said.
VILLANOVA 10, SETON HALL 0: The No. 8 seed Wildcats earned a berth in the semifinals against No. 4 Louisville today at 10 a.m. Villanova must win twice to advance. Wildcats senior Bill Hoffman (6-1) pitched a complete game, striking out nine while allowing five hits.