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February 13, 2013

Around the Horn: Corner Infield

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Positions that traditionally call for solid defense and constant offensive output, the corner infielders for USF have the potential to do both this season. Positions of experience the last few years, first base and third base will, most likely, be manned by underclassmen a majority innings in 2013.

First base profiles two familiar faces for the Bulls; Jimmy Falla and Buddy Putnam. Falla, a local product from Jesuit, will split time, just like last season, between first base and right field for the Bulls. Putnam, like Falla, saw time at first and outfield in his first season with the Bulls.

Unlike first, third base will be a collection of unknown talent for USF. Coming out of fall ball, two freshmen appear to be the candidates to fill the position in the hot corner. First year Bull Levi Borders appears to be the apparent starter going into the first weekend of play, while fellow freshman Luke Maglich will be the backup.

As we head into the Big East/Big 10 Challenge this weekend, let's take a look at USF's corner infielders:

Jimmy Falla- 6-foot-2 215lbs Senior Jesuit High School (Tampa, Fla.)

Bats: Right

Throws: Right

Last season was a nice bounce back year from a sophomore slump for Falla. The then junior batted .286 in 2012 after hitting just .240 the season before. Falla finished the season strong, leading USF with a .375 batting average in the Bulls run to their first appearance in the Big East Championship in program history. The local product played both right field and first base for Lelo Prado in 2012, giving the Bulls some depth and flexibility. Going into this season, expect Falla to split time once again between the infield and outfield. Falla will be needed in the middle of the lineup this season, especially after the graduation of some of the Bulls bigger hitters like Todd Brazeal, Daniel Rockhold and Andrew Longley.

Buddy Putnam - 6-foot-3 185lbs Sophomore Bartow High School (Bartow, Fla.)

Bats: Left

Throws: Right

Putnam saw a great deal of action in 2012, playing in 36 games, second most of any freshman for the Bulls. Most likely the starter at first base for the Bulls, Putnam profiles a tall 6'3" build and strong fielding ability, both traditional attributes for a first baseman. This season, Putnam must be better at the plate; the freshman batted just .216 with 10 RBIs and a .292 on-base percentage last year. Going into 2013, if Putnam can produce at the plate, he should be able to cement himself as the guy at first base. If Putnam hits, he gives Lelo Prado a strong left-handed bat with extra base potential. One thing we do know, the sophomore isn't afraid of the big moment; Putnam had two game-winning hits last season for the Bulls.

Levi Borders- 6-foot-3 185lbs Freshman Winter Haven High School (Winter Haven, Fla.)

Bats: Left

Throws: Right

An incoming freshman, Borders is expected to start a third and fill-in behind the plate for USF this season. An 11th round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in the 2012 MLB First Year Players Draft, Borders is a great addition to the USF roster. The Winter Haven native was named to the Rawlins All-American Florida All Region 2nd Team his senior year and received high infield ratings from baseball scouting service Perfect Game. Borders' glove shouldn't be a problem at third base, the freshman played shortstop his entire high school career before moving to catcher his senior year. A good athlete with an above average arm, Borders should prove to be a good defensive player with offensive upside for the Bulls this year.

Luke Maglich- 6-foot-3 190lbs Freshman Riverview High School (Sarasota, Fla.)

Bats: Left

Throws: Right

Maglich was a nice addition to Lelo Prado's 2013 signing class. The freshman chose the Bulls after considering Clemson, Stetson, UCF and Florida. The Riverview product caught the attention of many after growing six inches between his sophomore and junior seasons. A shortstop in high school, Maglich gives the Bulls another strong fielder that can play multiple positions. Going into 2013, expect to see Maglich occasionally when Levi Borders fills in at catcher.

Nick Gryniewicz is the Managing Editor of Runningthebulls.com - he also serves as the student voice of the USF Bulls Football, Men's basketball and Baseball home games. You can reach him at nick@runningthebulls.com. Follow Nick on Twitter at @nickgryniewicz.



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