TAMPA — Pitch it, catch it, hit it. Winning baseball really is that simple. The University of South Florida got a stellar pitching performance from junior right-hander Brandon Lawson, errorless defense, and scratched out just enough offense to beat the 25th ranked Michigan State Spartans 2-0 at USF Baseball Stadium to bounce back from an 11-1 loss last night and even their weekend series at one game each.
Lawson pitched into the eighth and allowed just five hits. He struck out eight and walked two before giving way to Tommy Eveld with one out in the eighth. Eveld earned his fourth save of the year with a dominant 1 2/3 innings of work.
“Lawson and Eveld were outstanding tonight and I thought that was Lawson’s best outing,” said USF head baseball coach Mark Kingston. “When you pitch and play defense, you only need a couple runs to win and that is what we did tonight,”
“We ran into a really good arm today,” said Spartan head coach Jake Boss Jr. “Their guy really neutralized our offense, He had good velocity and a hard breaking ball that he was able to throw for a strike. He didn’t allow us to make many adjustments.”
For his part Lawson agreed.
“That was the best command I’ve had in a while. I was able to run the two seam fastball in and out, that was my go to pitch tonight,” said Lawson. ” I felt comfortable tonight, every pitch was working and I had a great defense behind me.
USF got on the board in the first inning on the RBI single from Duke Stunkel Jr. that scored Luke Maglich from second base. A sacrifice fly in the second from Kevin Merrell and the Bulls had all the runs they would need and a 2-0 lead.
I’ve seen Brandon Lawson pitch many times over the past 2 1/2 seasons. He has never been better than he was tonight. His fastball routinely touched 90 MPH and more importantly he had command. Lawson has always had good off-speed pitches and tonight they were exceptional.
Defensively the Bulls are playing as well any USF team in recent memory. Remember the Bulls are young and you never know when youth will show up, but Coach Kingston is well pleased the effort .
“When pitching and defense is at the high level it is right now, we have a chance to win games.” said Kingston.
I can’t say enough good things about him. Intense competitor who gives everything thing he has every time out.
Spartan hitters had to be glad to see Lawson leave the game, but Eveld’s 93 MPH fastball at the knees, mixed in with a knee buckling slider was practically un-hittable.
Its just fun to watch.