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March 5, 2013
Rolling after a series victory over Toledo and winners of three of their last four games, the USF Bulls continue their eight game home stand with a mid-week, two game series with the Boston College Eagles.
USF (4-6) enters the series with the Eagles on a high after a thrilling, come from behind victory to clinch a series win over Toledo on Sunday. The Bulls entered the bottom of the ninth inning against the Rockets trailing 8-3 and rattled of six runs, capped by James Ramsay's walk-off three RBI triple. The win clinched the first series victory of the season for USF.
Boston College (2-7) comes in to the mid-week tilt having lost seven of their past eight after losing two of three to Georgia State at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg. The series is the second for Boston College in a twelve game road trip.
The Eagles have struggled this season to score runs, averaging just three a game while batting .209 as a team. Offensively, Boston College is paced by infielder Logan Hoggarth. The freshman has impressed early, batting .313 with a team-leading three doubles and three RBIs through the first nine games.
USF's offense has found consistency in the past four games, scoring close to seven runs a game. The Bulls have excelled with two outs, scoring 17 two-out runs in the past four games. USF currently has three players hitting above .400, led by sophomore outfielder Austin Lueck's .455 batting average, followed by redshirt freshman Nik Alfonso (.444) and senior Chris Norton (.417). Ramsay had the best weekend at the plate, batting 6-14 (.428) with six RBIs and a home run, raising his batting average 82 points from .200 to .282 over the three games.
Pitching has been inconsistent for both Boston College and USF through the early part of the season. The Eagle's have posted a 5.33 team ERA through the first nine games with opponents batting .293 against. Boston College's pitching has been bit by the extra-base bug; allowing 19 extra base hits in the first nine games of the season, including four home runs. The starters for the two games in the series are still yet to be announced by the Eagle's. Like Boston College, the Bulls have seen roller coaster performances from many arms early in the year. The Bulls post a 6.44 team ERA and have seen some of their more reliable pitchers from last season, like Joey Lovecchio and Adrian Puig, struggle to start the year. Opponents are hitting .275 off the Bulls' hurlers through the first ten games. The Bulls will start sophomore Mike Clarkson (1-1, 1.93 ERA) on Tuesday and have yet to name Wednesday's starter. Clarkson was brilliant in his first start of the season last Tuesday against UCF. The sophomore pitched four scoreless innings, limited UCF to just three base runners and picked up the win in USF's 7-5 victory over the Knights. Possible starters for Wednesday's series finale are freshman Justin Patrick, or Tallahassee Community College transfer Nolan Thomas.
After finishing up with Boston College, the Bulls will stay home to host Valparaiso in a three game series starting Friday at the USF Baseball Stadium.