Thursday, May 24, 2018
Colleges

Memphis ousts USF baseball from conference tournament

CLEARWATER — Seated snugly behind destiny's steering wheel, USF entered Saturday's game against No. 8-seeded Memphis with a chance to salvage its sub-.500 season.

Instead, the Bulls epitomized it.

Failing to capitalize on myriad early opportunities, the Bulls' season — and the Lelo Prado era — ended with a 2-1 loss to the Tigers (30-29) in the American Athletic Conference baseball tournament's final pool-play contest.

Darien Tubbs, who led off the game with a triple and scored Memphis' first run, hit a two-out walkoff double to the gap in right-centerfield.

A win would have put No. 5 USF, which finished 1-2 in pool play, in today's noon title game at Bright House Field. Instead, top seed Louisville (2-1), a 2-1 loser Friday to the Bulls (27-31), faces No. 3 Houston.

Prado is stepping down as coach to take on an administrative role in USF's athletic department.

"We had opportunities," said Prado, who watched his club strand 11 runners. "You all have been to our games enough to know a couple hits here or there, it's a completely different ball game. Proud of them. Now we've got to give support to the new coach, and Mark (Harlan, athletic director) will do a great job hiring a new guy and getting this program where it should be, in a (NCAA) regional."

Memphis (30-29) committed four errors in the first five innings, but USF exploited none of them. Twice the Bulls left a runner at third. They finally broke through in the seventh, when Kyle Teaf beat out a high chopper to short and pinch-runner Hayden Kelley scored.

Freshman Brandon Lawson, a former Hernando High ace, worked the first six innings for USF, allowing only a run on five hits.

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