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February 25, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up & Analysis: USF at #9 FSU

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The weekend began and ended with frustration for the USF Baseball team, first because of weather and lastly due to an inability to score against the ninth ranked team in the country. In a wet and windy weekend in Tallahassee, the Bulls couldn't avoid a sweet at the hands of the Florida State Seminoles, falling to 1-5 on the year.

The weekend featured three games, two rainouts, two rescheduled games, a shorted contest and a ten-strikeout performance. The Bulls struggled to contain a high-powered Seminole offense that scored 27 runs on 27 hits.

USF starters improved as the weekend progressed. Game one starter Joey Lovecchio (1-1) couldn't work off momentum from his superb outing against Purdue last weekend. Before Bulls fans could blink, USF trailed 3-0 after one innings and 5-0 after the first two frames. Lovecchio allowed eight runs on seven hits and walking four through two innings, eventually taking the loss.

Game two starter Nick Gonzalez (0-2) had arguably the best start of any hurler in the series. The lefthander surrendered three earned runs over five innings, striking out ten in the loss. Gonzalez got off to a rough start, allowing all four runs in the first inning, but he did bounce back after that; tossing four scoreless innings.

Freshman Jimmy Herget (0-1) made the first start of his collegiate career on Sunday and faired well. Herget allowed just two earned runs on four hits through 4.1 innings. The Jefferson High School product walked just two batters and struck out four, but eventually took the loss due to the Bulls inability to score runs.

A cast of USF reliever had good weekends for the Bulls. For starters (or relievers), Diago Rapalino and Janick Serrallonga both threw scoreless innings on Friday. Chad Taylor and Nolan Thomas each followed suit on Sunday, turning in a scoreless appearance. Joe Adel and Steven Leasure each experienced a hiccup, allowing a run in an inning of relief on Sunday. After a solid opening weekend, Justin Patrick stumbled on Saturday, allowing four earned runs on three hits in two-innings. Veteran reliever Adrian Puig showed inconsistent control on Friday, walking three batters in two-thirds of an inning and allowing five earned runs in the loss.

The Bulls' offense was a lot like the rain over the weekend; it started, stopped, and then started again. The phrase 'rollercoaster performance' is beginning to become overused when referring to this team, but it might be appropriate for the series against Florida State. USF had its opportunities, but couldn't cash in, leaving 17 runners on base. The Bulls could on muster five runs over the three games, but did put the ball in play, totaling 17 hits. Redshirt freshman Nik Alfonso continued his strong start to the season, going 2-6 (.333) over the weekend. Sophomore outfielder Austin Lueck had the big hit of the weekend, a two run homer on Friday, finishing 3-7 (.428) with two RBIs and a run scored.

The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Bulls. USF travels to Orlando to play UCF on Tuesday at 6:30. The Knights are the fourth out of the five teams the Bulls have played that made an appearance in an NCAA Regional last year, the only exception being Indiana. After the mid-week tilt with UCF, the Bulls will open their home schedule on Friday with a three-game series against Toledo.



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