The Bulls, 14-11, are on the road as they take on Cincinnati (Friday at 6 PM, Saturday at 6 PM, and Sunday at noon) to get conference play. The Bearcats are 12-12 on the year but are 10-0 at home so this is going to be tough. USF did sweep them last year in three games and beat them by a combined score of 27 to 12.
The Bulls are batting .247 as a team entering this series and have a staff ERA of 3.68 (opponents are batting .235 against them). The Bearcats are batting .250 as a team and have a staff ERA of 4.05 (.245 batting against them). The two sides are pretty even on paper which could make for a very interesting 3-game series to start AAC play.
Leading the Bearcats offense is redshirt sophomore infielder Connor McVey who is batting .356 with 7 doubles, 3 home runs, 12 RBIs, has scored 21 runs and is 15 for 16 in steal attempts (leads the team). Sophomore outfielder Trey Haberkorn is batting .284 with 4 doubles, 3 triples, has 2 home runs, driven in 10 runs, and has scored 11 runs. Sophomore utility player Ryan Noda is batting .273 with 7 doubles, 4 home runs, 19 RBIs and has scored 13 runs on the season. The USF pitching staff will have to be sharp and will be led by Phoenix Sanders who is 2-1 (1.85 ERA) and has struck out 46 batters in 39 innings of work. On the back-end of games, Tommy Eveld will shut things down if USF has the lead. He has 5 saves (.84 ERA) and has struck out 32 batters in 21.1 innings. If the Bulls can get the late lead to Eveld, the Bulls could come away with victories.
Leading the Bearcats pitching staff is junior RHP Andrew Zellner who is 3-1 (2.06 ERA in 6 starts) and has thrown 39.1 innings, allowing 27 hits, 12 runs, 11 walks and has struck out 30 batters. Sophomore LHP JT Perez is 2-1 (3.67 ERA) has thrown 34.1 innings, allowing 32 hits, 18 runs, walked just 6 batters and has struck out 22 batters. The USF offense will be led by senior Luke Maglich who is batting .290 and is 17 for 17 in steal attempts (leads the team in both categories). The top RBI guy for USF is freshman Chris Chatfield who has 6 home runs and 19 RBIs (leads the team in both). They along with the young order, will have to step up and take care of business in this series.
So game on, lets begin conference play already!