Bulls bow out with another loss
The NCAA Tournament door may have slammed shut as the University of South Florida baseball team crashed out of the Big East Tournament with a 2-1 loss to Rutgers on Friday night.
USF shouldn’t even have been playing Friday night, considering they had a 7-0 lead on Connecticut on Thursday. A win in that game would have given them Friday off with a bye into the conference semifinals.
“We had the door open and we didn’t take advantage of it,” USF coach Lelo Prado said. “We’ve got to get to the point where we go through that door and finish the job. We can’t be satisfied with this. We just can’t.”
Instead, the Bulls ran into Rutgers starter Tyler Gebler who dominated the night, allowing one run on five hits in 81/3 innings.
Gebler was perfect through four innings before the Bulls finally found a way onto the base paths.
Rutgers strung together three consecutive hits in the fourth inning to take a lead, but the Bulls answered in the top of the fifth when catcher Blake Sydeski drove a single into left field, allowing Buddy Putnam to score.
USF had four hits in that inning but scored only one run.
Rutgers answered USF’s run with the eventual game-winner in the bottom of the fifth as Matt Tietz and Nick Favatella each got a hit and Vinny Zarillo collected an RBI on a groundout.
The Bulls entered the tournament with an RPI of 61, meaning there was likely work to do if they were to earn an at-large bid to the 64-team NCAA Tournament field.