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BULLS BITS

It began on a disappointing note, but South Florida's 14-game homestand has been fruitful so far.

Since losing to Ohio State on March 7, the Bulls, ranked No.

15 by Baseball America, have won nine consecutive games heading into tonight's Conference USA game against Houston.

Highlights of the streak include three C-USA victories over UAB and the extension of hitting streaks by third baseman Jorge DeLeon (22 games) and outfielder Mike Diaz (16).

But the success of USF's homestand could hinge on the final two games on Monday and Tuesday, when it plays Miami, ranked No.

16 by Baseball America.

USF (19-6) lost two of three at Miami last May. The Hurricanes lead the all-time series, posting a 63-25 record versus the Bulls.

MAKING THE GRADE: Men's soccer player Brian Waltrip made the first cut for the under-20 USA national team that will compete for the world youth championship in June.

Waltrip, a forward/midfielder who was named to the C-USA all-freshmen team in 1996, had seven goals and five assists in the fall for the conference champion Bulls.

If he makes the final cut, Waltrip will be on the 18-man roster that will compete in Malaysia.

HARD LUCK: The softball team has confirmed senior outfielder Eileen Leary will be out for the season with a knee injury.

Leary was red-shirted last season with a shoulder injury, but returned to post the second highest batting average on the team this year. She tore her anterior cruciate ligament in the Speedline Invitational on March 7.

ON YOUR MARK: The outdoor track season gets under way this weekend as the Bulls will split their squad to head in different directions.

USF's distance runners will compete in the Florida State Relays in Tallahassee, while the sprinters and field athletes will be in Miami for the Florida International Invitational.

_ CHRIS ROTAR

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