For the first time since its season commenced, the USF baseball team enters a weekend as the Bulls' feature sports attraction.
Basketball ended last month, and spring football ended last Saturday, meaning would-be baseball fans no longer have reason to be preoccupied. For now, baseball is the marquee program on campus.
And from an offensive standpoint, the marquee program in the whole American Athletic Conference.
USF (24-13, 7-5) enters this weekend's home showdown with UCF leading the AAC in eight major offensive categories. Buoyed by an everyday lineup consisting exclusively of juniors (and senior Duke Stunkel), USF is tied with Wichita State for the league lead in average (.300) and is tops in slugging percentage (.470).
The Bulls also lead the AAC in hits (385), runs (249), RBIs (225), doubles (98), triples (14) and total bases (604). It ranks fourth in the league with 31 home runs, but junior 1B Joe Genord is tied for second individually with nine.
"We've got a veteran group," first-year coach Billy Mohl said after Tuesday's 7-1 home triumph against North Florida. "They're all juniors in our lineup, that's what we expect of them. Coach (Chuck) Jeroloman and Coach (Chris) Cates have done an unbelievable job with our hitters."
Now if they can only get left-handed ace Shane McClanahan back on track. The first-round draft prospect, who didn't allow an earned run in his first 31.2 innings this season, has struggled in league play (8.24 ERA, 16 walks in 19.2 innings).
McClanahan starts in Friday's 7 p.m. opener against the Knights, bent on re-finding the zone.
His hitters already are in one.