While pitching depth remains the ultimate prerequisite for winning a baseball tournament at any level, steady bats also are handy.
And few are on a hitting tear like USF veteran Duke Stunkel Jr.
A senior outfielder, Stunkel (.347, 16 doubles, 23 RBIs) will enter Wednesday morning's American Athletic Conference tournament opener against Wichita State on nine-game hitting streak. During that stretch, he's batting .559 (19-for-34) with a home run, six RBIs, three doubles and 12 runs.
On Monday, he made the AAC's weekly honor roll for the second consecutive week after recording a pair of multi-hit games (with two doubles and a homer) and scoring seven runs at Cincinnati, where No. 2-seeded USF won two of three.
As a team, the Bulls (32-18-1) are batting .297, and have scored at least seven runs in each of their last five games. If they can remain near their current hitting clip the remainder of the season, they'll post the program's best collective batting average since the 2009 team hit .315.
American Athletic Conference tournament
(at Clearwater's Spectrum Field)
Tuesday: No. 5 UCF vs. No. 4 East Carolina, 9 a.m.; No. 8 Tulane vs. No. 1 Houston, noon
Wednesday: No. 7 Wichita State vs. No. 2 USF, 11 a.m.; No. 6 Cincinnati vs. No. 3 Connecticut, 3 p.m.; UCF/ECU loser vs. Tulane/Houston loser, 7 p.m.
Thursday: Games at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.
Friday: Games at 11 a.m., 3 p.m.
Saturday: Games at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m. (if necessary), 7:30 p.m. (if necessary)
Sunday: Championship, noon
TV: Tuesday-Saturday games streamed live on American Digital Network Plus, championship on ESPNews
(Schedule subject to change, depending on weather)