The Bulls 21-27 (6-12 in the AAC) fell 11 to 4 to the top ranked Gators in Gainesville. USF had the lead early, but the Gators offense proved too much down the stretch against the Bulls’ pitching staff.
In the first inning, Duke Stunkel hit into a fielder’s choice, allowing Kevin Merrell to score and put USF ahead 1 to 0 early. David Villar and Joe Genord then followed with RBI singles to make it 3 to 0 early. In the bottom of the inning, the Gators made it 3 to 2 as the top ranked team in the country battled right back. In the 6th, Kevin Merrell drove in a run on an RBI single to make it 4 to 2. However, in the bottom of the inning, UF tied it at 4 to 4. In the 7th, UF took the lead for the first time, going up 6 to 4. They extended it 10 to 4 as they blew the game open late. In the 8th, UF made it 11 to 4 as their offense continued to roll even late in the game.
Kevin Merrell was 3 for 4 overall with an RBI and scored a run (great night at the plate for him). Garrett Zech was 2 for 3 and scored a run. Luke Maglich was 2 for 5. Joe Genord was 3 for 4 with an RBI. The offense did produce, but they just couldn’t do enough to keep pace in this game against the best team in the country.
Mike Clarkson went 6 innings, allowing 3 hits, 4 runs, 5 walks and struck out 2. Clarkson gave USF a solid start and really settled down after the first inning. Garrett Bye relieved him, allowing 4 hits and 4 runs (he did struggle out there). Tommy Eveld went an inning in relief, allowing a hit, 2 runs, 2 walks and struck out a batter. Andrew Perez went the final inning, allowing 1 hit, 1 run, and 1 walk.
The Bulls will stay on the road as they return to league play at ECU on Friday night (game begins at 6:30 PM).