The University of South Florida (22-16, 8-6 AAC) bounced back from a heartbreaking loss on Thursday to beat the #13 Houston Cougars ( 28-10, 5-6) 4-3, and the #10 Louisville Cardinals were able to avoid a sweep at the hands of the American Athletic Conference leading University of Central Florida Knights (25-16, 12-3 AAC) 3-2 in Orlando.
The series win for UCF secures the Knights as the leader in the American and the team should garner some national attention in the polls next week.
For USF the win was against came against highest ranked team since beating No. 2 Florida on April 24, 2012 and the Bulls have won three out of their last four heading into the final game with the Cougars on Saturday.
American Athletic Baseball Scores
USF 4 – Houston 3
USF put four runs on the board in the first inning and made it stand up with pitching and defense to even the weekend series with Houston. USF starter Casey Mulholland pitched into the sixth allowing two earned runs while walking three and striking out two.
Senior southpaw Lawrence Pardo came on the relief and turned in 3 2/3 innings of one run baseball on three hits. Pardo struck out four and did not walk a batter. Kyle Teaf had two hits for the Bulls and provided solid defense for USF at shortstop inlcuding a backhanded stop in the hole to record the final out of the game with the trying run on third.
“That was a great win for us tonight,” said head coach Lelo Prado. “The way we bounced back today was unbelievable. Our guys were ready to go from the get-go after what happened last night. Casey didn’t have his best stuff but he fought through it. Pardo pitched outstanding doing what he had to do for us to close out the ballgame.”
Houston starter Jake Lemoine struck out seven and walked three, while allowing four runs on eight in eight innings of work. Cougars Senior Casey Grayson tied a career high with three hits in the game
Louisville 3 UCF 2
A 3-2 loss to No. 10 Louisville kept the Knights from completing a series sweep, but the Knights still came out of the series as favorites in the American Athletic Conference after taking both game of a doubleheader on Thursday. The win also may elevate UCF (25-16, 12-3 AAC) into the national rankings.
“This weekend was a good weekend,” UCF coach Terry Rooney said. “These guys have been playing well for a long time, for these last couple weeks. Obviously it was a big series, but we’ve got a lot of baseball left in this conference.”
Louisville got a two-run homer from senior outfielder Jeff Gardner and sophomore righty Anthony Kidston worked seven innings striking out five while allowing two runs on five hits with one walk for the win.
Rutgers 3 – Cincinnati 1
Gaby Rosa pitched into the ninth and did not allow an earned run as Rutgers hung on the beat Cincinnati 3-1. The Scarlet Knights plated three runs int he first and Rosa did the rest.
Freshman Colton Cleary was nearly as good in the loss for the Bearcats pitching 7 2/3 innings of shutout baseball and allowing only one hit, at one point retiring 22 consecutive batters.
“I think Colton did a great job of competing on the mound today” said head coach Ty Neal. “He really gave this team a chance to win.”
Temple 7 – Connecticut 4
Temple rallied for three runs in the 14th inning to best UConn 7-4. The win improves Temple’s record to 11-19, 6-8 while UConn falls to 18-18, 5-5.
Patrick Vanderslice went six innings for Temple allowing two runs, one earned and striking out three.
Memphis 8 – Alcorn State 1
Kane Barrow was 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored to help Memphis past Alcorn State 8-1 . Starter Caleb Wallingford got the win allowing one run on three hits in six innings of work.