The Bulls, 23-28 (8-13) (17-15 at home), are back home as they begin to wrap up the regular season as they host Jacksonville (game begins at 6:30 PM). The Dolphins are 32-18 (11-11 away) on the year and beat USF 7 to 5 back on March 9th in Jacksonville. Weather make affect this game with rain chances at 70% for Tampa, just be aware of that.
USF enters this game batting .250 as a team and have a staff ERA of 4.20 (opponents are batting .245 on the season). Jacksonville is batting .279 as a team and have a staff ERA of 3.65 (opponents are batting .285 against them). This is going to be a tough battle for the Bulls in this game.
Leading the Jacksonville offense is junior outfielder Austin Hays who is batting .351 with 15 doubles, 14 home runs (leads the team), with 39 RBIs, has scored 43 runs and is 14 for 19 in steal attempts. He was 3 for 5 and scored a run in the first meeting. Senior short stop/2nd baseman JJ Gould is batting .330 with 16 doubles, 6 home runs, 34 RBIs, has scored 40 runs and is 9 for 11 in steal attempts. He was 2 for 4 with 2 RBIs and scored a run in the first meeting. Sophomore infielder Sam Armstrong is batting .259 with 13 doubles, 4 home runs, with 24 RBIs and has scored 33 runs. He was 1 for 3 with an RBI and scored a run in the first game. The USF staff is going to be challenged in this game with the Dolphins who have both power and speed on the base pads.
Closing out games for Jacksonville is freshman RHP Mike Cassala who has thrown in 20 games (3.68 ERA) and has 12 saves while working 22 innings, allowing 24 hits, 10 runs, 6 walks and has struck out 14 batters. He went 1.2 innings in the victory over USF back in March, allowing a walk and struck out one as he got the save. He, along with the Jacksonville staff, will be facing a red hot USF offense that was rolling after the weekend. Kevin Merrell is batting .323 with 21 RBIs, has scored 19 runs and is 16 for 17 in steal attempts. Luke Borders who was 7 for 14 over the weekend (AAC player of the week) is batting .244 with 6 home runs and has 21 RBIs on the year. If their bats can stay hot into the week, they will challenge the Dolphin pitching staff.
It’s the home stretch of home games, so why not close out the year on a long winning streak?