FT. MYERS, Fla. — The University of South Florida (17-8-1) rallied for a run in the seventh, two in the eighth and two runs in the ninth, led by the hot hitting Buddy Putnam and held on for a 8-7 win over Florida Gulf Coast University ( 11-13-1) at Swanson Stadium. Putnam was 3-for- 5 on the night with two home runs, a double and three RBI and has hit four home runs in his last three games.
Luke Maglich added a home run of his own, two RBI and the Bulls tallied 14 hits against FGCU pitching.
Brandon Lawson got the start for USF pitching into the fourth, and allowed four runs on eight hits. He struck out three and walked one before being relieved by junior right-hander Ryan Valdes. Valdes gave USF four innings of relief, allowing three runs, two earned. He struck out two and walked two. Michael Farley notched his second win of the season, with 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief.
FGCU took a early 2-0 in the home half of the first inning on a two RBI single by Jake Noll. The Bulls added a run in the second on Putnam’s first homer, another in the third on Levi Borders’ RBI double and one in the fourth on a Luke Maglich home run to take a 3-2 lead.
The Eagles struck back with three runs in the fourth with four hits, with Noll and Nick Rivera leading the way for a 5-3 lead.
Noll would finish his night with three hits and three RBI and Rivera had three hits and four RBI.
The Bulls rallied in the eighth to tie the game again on Putnam’s second home run of the night and Maglich scoring on a throwing error. FGCU took the lead right back 7-6 in the bottom of the eighth scoring an unearned run and setting up the ninth inning heroics for USF.
Levi Borders singled between Kevin Merrell grounding out and a Luke Borders fly ball out to left field. Putnam then doubled to score Levi Borders, tying the game. Putnam advanced to third on a error. Maglich then delivered what would be the game winning base hit to centerfield and an 8-7 lead.
The Eagles loaded the bases in the ninth before Farley struck out Tyler Selesky looking on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
“Coming from behind to win games is always good for the confidence of a team. We are having success in a variety of ways and we hope to build on these experiences. We refused to give in tonight, and I am happy the team got rewarded.” said USF head coach Mark Kingston.