TAMPA — Junior right-hander Jimmy Herget rebounded from a tough outing last week and pitched six innings of one hit baseball, striking out 11 and the University of South Florida coasted to a 8- 4 win over the University of Cincinnati Bearcats in the American Conference opener for both schools at USF Baseball Stadium.
As usual Herget featured a fastball that touched 93 MPH on occasion with a variety for sliders and curveballs from multiple arm slots to keep Cincinnati hitters off balance, unlike his last start against Illinois.
“After the last start, that was the worst one in forever. The ball was really jumping out of my hand tonight and I had my breaking ball. Last week I didn’t have much of a breaking ball. My slider is what what I base my game around. The fastball is all well and good, but it’s about my slider and I was able to pound the zone and get ahead of hitters,” said Herget.
“Everybody has a right to have an off day and he had his off day last week in tough circumstances, but he bounced back,” said USF head coach Mark Kingston
USF scored early when Luke Borders doubled to score Kyle Teaf who got on board after an error to lead off the inning in the home half of the first for a 1-0 lead.
The Bulls added four runs in the fourth on base hits by Andres Leal, Austin Lueck and Kevin Merrell and a throwing error by Bearcats shortstop Manny Rodriguez to make the score 5-0.
A run in the fifth and a long home run in the sixth by Lueck and the Bulls had a comfortable 7-0 lead. Levi Borders singled home Merrell and USF led 8-0.
Cincinnati scored a run in the seventh and then three more in the ninth to try and make a game of it. Bulls right-fielder Luke Maglich made a leaping grab at the wall to bring back what would have been a three-run home run off the bat of Ryan Noda or things might have gotten really interesting.
Bearcats freshman right-hander David Orndoff took the loss, giving up eight runs, six earned over 5 2/3 innings of work.
“I thought Jimmy was sharper today than he was last week and our offense did a good job. We had a lot of quality at bats and anytime you can score eight runs in a Friday night, that’s a good thing.”said Kingston.
The two teams continue the three-game series on Saturday, March 28, with a 6:30 p.m. start at the USF Baseball Stadium.
Kevin Merrell had three hits for USF to raise his batting average to .294
With the home run by Austin Lueck the Bulls now have three players with four home runs. Levi Borders and Buddy Putnam are the other two.
Remember the Bulls had 9 total home runs in 2104 and now have 16 for 2015.
Pre-season All American Ian Happ was hitless against Herget, but had an RBI single in the ninth for a 1-4 night and is now hitting .410 for 2015.