TAMPA — University of South Florida ace Jimmy Herget limited the Seton Hall to two hits over eight innings, struck out 12 and the Bulls (7-6-1) edged the Pirates 1-0 in the first game of their weekend series at USF Baseball Stadium. Tommy Peterson used just nine pitches in the ninth to record his fourth save of the year.
For most of the night Herget was locked in a battle with Seton Hall starter Zach Pendergast.
“We had two really good pitchers out there tonight. Jimmy was outstanding, like he’s been every Friday night,” USF head coach Mark Kingston said. “The encouraging thing is we played great defense behind him. He had a lot of strikeouts but we made a lot of defensive plays and I thought that was the difference in the game for us. Again, great pitching on both sides and we were able to get one more run than them ”
Pendergast, the Pirates sophomore right-hander, was coming off his first win of the season in his first start, tossing six hitless innnings against Cornell last Friday.
Against USF Pendergast was strong and pitched into the eighth, striking out four and scattering six hits, and took the hard luck loss.
Herget lowered his ERA to 0.68 for the year. He threw 116 pitches, 76 for strikes.
“It was a really good day. I had a lot of feel for my pitches tonight, probably the best I felt all year,” said Herget
USF got on the board first in the second inning when Pendergast balked and Luke Maglich came home for the 1-0 lead. As it turned out that would be the only run of the game.
From the there it was Herget and some outstanding defensive play by the Bulls.
Daniel Portales subbing for an ill Kevin Merrell, made two sparkling plays in left field. Once running into the wall down the line to make a catch in the fourth inning and then making a sliding catch in the fifth in foul territory.
“He made a play by the wall and a diving play in foul territory,” Kingston said. “When guys have to step up, they need to do that. He had a chance to play a different position tonight and he took advantage of it.”
The Bulls and Pirates play game two of the series tomorrow at 6:30 PM at USF Baseball Stadium.
Coach Kingston puts a premium on pitching and defense. Tonight he got both and the Bulls got the win. Herget threw 41 pitches over the first two innings before settling in for yet another Herget like performance.
Heading into the weekend Navy’s Luke Gillingham led the country with 42 strikeouts. With 12 tonight Herget now has 35.
The Bulls not only played a clean game defensively, but made some extraordinary plays, something the Coach Kingston said his team has worked hard on.
Lest anyone forget the Bulls have had a brutal schedule to start 2015. Cal State Fullerton, Louisville, Florida and Florida State were all Top 25 ranked opponents.