CLEARWATER — USF couldn't find its bats Friday morning but found them later that night, outslugging West Virginia 11-6 to stay alive in the losers bracket of the Big East baseball tournament at Bright House Field.
The second-seeded Bulls (34-24) advance to play Connecticut at 1 p.m. in today's semifinals, needing to beat the Huskies twice to reach Sunday's final.
The Bulls scored six runs on five hits in the seventh, helped by two errors from West Virginia shortstop Jedd Gyorko. Second baseman Peter Brotons, batting ninth for USF, got the scoring started with a bases-loaded double for a 6-5 lead, and pinch-hitter Brandon Smith finished the rally with a two-run double to left.
West Virginia (37-18) came in averaging nine runs a game and hitting .361 — both best in the Big East — but USF starter Derrick Stultz held the Mountaineers to three hits in five innings. Todd Brazeal's three-run homer in the fifth gave the Bulls a 4-3 lead.
USF mustered only five hits in a 4-2 loss to Connecticut early Friday. The Bulls had the bases loaded in the ninth with two outs, but Brotons' ground out ended the game.
Top seed Louisville and No. 6 Connecticut advanced to today's semifinals. Louisville needs one win in two games against Notre Dame — the first is set for 9 a.m. — to reach the final.
Notre Dame trailed 9-0 against St. John's before a rain delay of 2 hours and 38 minutes, and the Irish rallied to win 11-10 in the bottom of the ninth.
ARKANSAS 10, FLORIDA 7: The Gators were eliminated from the SEC tournament as freshman Zack Cox had a two-run homer and pitched two perfect innings to lift the Razorbacks in Hoover, Ala. The Razorbacks (34-21) won all five meetings with the Gators (39-20), including two in the SEC tournament. Florida scored four unearned runs in the seventh to get within 8-7, but Arkansas added two runs in the bottom half on Cox's RBI single and Tim Carver's second run-scoring sacrifice. Brandon McArthur had three hits and two RBIs for the Gators, who still hope to host in the NCAA Tournament region round. "None of the guys are excited after this weekend, but we've got to quickly put that behind us," said McArthur, a former Armwood High standout. "Now, it's time for the big tournament."
BC 10, MIAMI 1: The Hurricanes (36-20) fell to the Eagles in Durham, N.C., and finished pool play 1-2 and out of the running for a spot in the ACC championship game.
BASKETBALL: Villanova coach Jay Wright says he talked to the Philadelphia 76ers about their coaching job but is staying with the Wildcats. Wright said he met last week with Sixers president Ed Stefanski to discuss the NBA job. He says he called Stefanski after that and asked to be removed from consideration. … Alex Kellogg, son of former NBA player and current TV analyst Clark Kellogg, transferred from Providence to Ohio University and will be eligible for the 2010-11 season.
TENNIS: Florida's Marrit Boonstra beat Hilary Barte of Stanford 7-5, 6-1 in College Station, Texas, to reach the quarterfinals in the NCAA singles tournament. Boonstra faces Miami's Laura Vallverdu, who rallied from a 5-1 second-set deficit to top LSU's Megan Falcon 3-6, 7-5, 6-0. Another Hurricane, Julia Cohen, reached the quarterfinals by topping Ellah Nze of Duke 6-4, 6-4.
LACROSSE: Four-time defending women's national champion Northwestern needed double overtime to defeat Penn 13-12 in the national semifinals. The Wildcats face North Carolina in Sunday's title game. UNC beat Maryland 8-7.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.