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Bulls' hitters bounce back, down Louisville

USF gets 17 hits in a 10-6 win. Daniel Boyd is 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.

It's amazing what a good night's rest can do.

Less than 24 hours after seeming incapable of hitting, the University of South Florida seemed incapable of missing. Even when the Bulls tried to get out of the way, the ball hit the bat.

Behind 17 timely hits, 16 of them singles, and a gritty effort from starter John Vigue, the Bulls (29-28) stayed alive in the Conference USA tournament with a 10-6 victory over Louisville (17-37-1) Thursday at Florida Power Park.

A loss from elimination, the Bulls face the loser of the Houston/UNCC at 6:30 tonight. Jason Hubbard (0-2, 4.83 ERA) is scheduled to start.

"A day made a big difference in this case," coach Eddie Cardieri said. "Our guys put that game behind them and played a whale of a ballgame. What I was really impressed with was that we were more selective in swinging at pitches and took what (they) gave us."

Determined to make up for Wednesday night's curse of the heavy bat, when UNCC held South Florida to one run on five hits, the big boppers bounced back. First baseman Daniel Boyd was 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored, designated hitter Chris Cuccia also had four hits, including a double and one RBI, and leftfielder Bo Bentley added two hits and two RBI.

"We just went out and swung the bats like we had been the last two or three weeks," Boyd said. "We tried to not get flustered by (Wednesday) night's lack of hitting and come out and just swing the bats.

"It's real important to get a couple runs early because then the later guys in the lineup see you getting good swings and that just boosts their confidence."

Vigue (10-5), hampered by a pinched nerve in his back the past three weeks, wasn't overpowering but continually escaped trouble. In the fifth, Vigue surrendered three runs on four hits and a walk but got shortstop Adam Haley to pop up to Boyd with two on to stop the rally.

"The guys got me runs and that was big, I needed it," Vigue said. "When they are scoring runs, I love it. As long as they are scoring runs, you never hear me complaining."

South Florida did give up 12 hits overall, but got help from the bullpen. With one on and two outs in the bottom of the eighth, closer David Richtberg struck out Curtis Sapp looking to end the inning, then did the same to leftfielder David Williams in the bottom of the ninth.