Time may be running out on the USF baseball team.
With seven regular-season games remaining, the Bulls need at least six victories along with some help to avoid a play-in game when the Conference USA tournament begins May 12 in New Orleans. The conference's top six teams received automatic bids while the remaining four must compete for two spots.
USF (19-30 overall, 7-14 C-USA) is in eighth place, trailing Memphis (11-10), Alabama-Birmingham (10-11) and Louisville (10-11) for the sixth spot. The Bulls, in the midst of a five-game losing streak, have a three-game series at Cincinnati beginning today and close out the season next weekend with a three-game set at Alabama-Birmingham.
The Bulls never have lost to the Bearcats in their six meetings and have won 10 of their last 11 against UAB. The only loss, however, came in the C-USA tournament last year.
ROBERTS HONORED: Former baseball coach Robin Roberts was elected to the Florida Sports Hall of Fame last week. A 19-year player in the major leagues, Roberts enjoyed a stellar career with the Philadelphia Phillies before becoming USF's third baseball coach in 1977. During his nine-year tenure, he was selected Sun Belt Conference coach of the year four times and led the Bulls to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 1982.
ON FIRE: Third baseman Dan Boyd continues to lead the Bulls offensively. The freshman from Dade City is hitting .401 and leads the Bulls with 75 hits and 47 RBI. His two home runs last weekend against UNC Charlotte give him 10 on the year.
Junior outfielder Mike Pilger is inching up on several career records. Pilger is tied for the USF mark in doubles with 44, tied for eighth in at-bats (674) and tied for fifth in hits (224) and runs (160).
Freshman pitcher Shannon Royal enjoyed one of his best performances Sunday against UNCC. Royal, a lefty, pitched a career-high five innings and struck out five while yielding three hits and one run. Royal (2-4) didn't figure in the decision but lowered his ERA from 7.71 to 6.82.
TENNIS HONORS: The women's tennis team had three players named to the All-Conference USA teams. Alicia Kerstyn was named to the first team, Katherine Tessier to the second team and Jacqueline Bunting to the third team.
_ ROD GIPSON