CLEARWATER — Using timely hitting and a sharp outing by left-hander Matt Reed, USF staved off elimination in the Big East tournament for the second straight night, defeating top seed Louisville 6-2 Friday at Bright House Field.
After Cardinals first baseman Zak Wasserman tied the score at 1 on a home run to rightfield in the fifth inning, No. 4 seed USF (36-21) answered in the bottom half with a three-run shot to right by shortstop Alex Mendez.
Reed went 7⅓ innings, allowing one earned run (two overall) off four hits and two walks. He picked off Nick Ratajczak in the fourth inning.
"I came out, had a good session in the bullpen before the game, felt my pitches were pretty good and knew that I had a chance to be successful. I think I'm going to be successful every day," Reed said. "I tell people all the time, 'I think I'm the best pitcher in the world every time out,' and some days I am, some days I'm not, but (Friday) fortunately I was.
"My guys made some great plays for me. I pitched well, but there's no way I get through this without those guys making defensive plays."
USF senior DH Daniel Rockhold added a two-run homer to left in the eighth to seal the win. The Bulls face No. 5 Connecticut (31-25-1) today at 1 p.m. and need to beat the Huskies twice to reach Sunday's final. UConn stayed unbeaten with a 4-1 win over Louisville (39-20) in a game postponed from Thursday.
Notre Dame (30-26) defeated Seton Hall 4-3 and plays St. John's (35-21) today at 10 a.m. If the Irish beat the Red Storm in the first game, they would have to do so again later to advance to the final.