The Sports Corner: USF and Rays successful on the diamonds

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USF softball, led by Kalen McGill and others, helped the Bulls to get out of the AAC basement.

The Bulls and Rays found a lot of success over the weekend on their respective diamonds. The USF softball team swept ECU to get back to .500 on the year in league play and out of last place in AAC. Meanwhile the Rays moved to 5-2, taking 3 out of 4 games against the Blue Jays. It was a solid weekend overall. And to cap it off, USF baseball swept their series and are now in 2nd place in the AAC standings. 

USF baseball

On Friday night, the Bulls won in 11 innings 5 to 4 on a walk off hit by Luke Borders to put USF to 25-5 (2-2) on the year. USF lead throughout this game, but Andrew Perez struggled in the 9th, allowing 2 runs after throwing 3 wild pitches, allowing that team from Central Florida to push it to extras. LUke was 3 for 5 with 2 RBIs (one on a home run) while David Villar was 1 for 5 with an RBI and scored a run. Phoenix Sanders (ND) went 6 innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 runs, walking 3 and struck out 5 batters. While Perez struggled, Joe Cavallaro went 2 innings in relief, allowing 1 hit and struck out 4 while Mark Savarese (2-0) went the final inning, allowing 1 hit and struck out one batter.

On Saturday, the Bulls won 6 to 5 in a walk-off victory in the 9th inning to push their record to 26-5 (3-2). Coco Montes was 4 for 5 with an RBI and scored a run. Luke Borders was 1 for 4 with a double and scored 2 runs in the game. David Villar was 2 for 4 while Duke Stunkel went 2 for 3 with an RBI and scored a run. Shane McClanahan (ND) went 5 innings, allowing 3 hits, 4 runs, walking 3 and struck out 9 batters. Mark Savarese (3-0) went 1 inning, allowing a hit and struck out 3 batters to close out the game. This was another dramatic victory as the Bulls continued to move up the AAC standings.

On Sunday, the Bulls completed the sweep, winning 7 to 5 to move to 27-5 (4-2) on the year. Kevin Merrell was 3 for 5 with 2 RBIs (one on a home run) and Joe Genord was 3 for 5 with an RBI and scored a run. Garrett Zech was 3 for 4 with an RBI and scored a run as the Bulls totaled 16 hits as a unit, hammering the Central Florida pitching staff for the third straight day. Ryan Valdes got the win in relief (6-0) going 2 innings, allowing 2 hits, 2 runs, and walking one in relief of Peter Strzelecki who went 3 innings in the start, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits. Joe Cavallaro got the save, going 3.1 innings, allowing 3 hits, and struck out 6 batters.

The Bulls will head to Stetson on Tuesday night (game begins at 6:30 PM) as they take a break from conference play.

USF softball

On Friday afternoon, the Bulls won 3 to 0 over ECU to move to 22-19 (2-4) on the year. In the first Cassandra Moeller drove in Astin Donovan on a sac fly to get USF on the board. In the 5th, Kristen Wyckoff scored on a wild pitch and was followed by an RBI double by Sam Worrell, making it 3 to 0 late in the game. Wyckoff was 2 for 3 with a triple and scored a run. Donovan was 1 for 3 with a triple, scored a run, and Lauren Evans was 2 for 3. Kalen McGill (9-5) went 5.2 innings, allowing 2 hits, 2 walks, and struck out one. Hannah Parker (S 2) went 1.1 innings and struck out 3 batters to close out the game.

On Saturday, the Bulls won 7 to 6 in a wild game, moving them to 23-19 (3-4) as they continued to battle out of the basement. Astin Donovan was 3 for 4 and scored a run (Kristen Wyckoff was 0 for 4), Kassandra Moeller was 1 for 3 with a 2-run home run while Hannah Parker went 2 for 3 with an RBI and scored a run. Morgan Gross was 1 for 2 with a 3-run home run. Kalen McGill (9-5) went 4.2 innings, allowing 8 hits, 3 runs, walked 3, and struck out 2. Parker got the save, going 2.1 innings, allowing 2 hits, 3 runs, walked 3 and struck out 3 batters.

On Sunday, the Bulls completed the sweep, winning 9 to 7 to move their overall record to 24-19 (4-4) on the season. The Bulls pitching gave up a lot of runs this weekend, but the offense was right there to pick them up. Kristen Wyckoff was 2 for 4 with a double, drove in a run and scored 2 more. Lindsey Devitt was 2 for 2 with a walk and drove in 2 runs while Kassandra Moeller and Bethaney Keen each hit home runs. Cheyenne Eggens (ND) went 3 innings, allowing 2 hits, 3 runs, walked 3, and struck out 4. Hannah Parker (7-4) went 1.2 innings in relief, allowing 1 hit, 1 walk, and struck out 2 batters in relief.

The Bulls will head to Jacksonville on Wednesday night (game begins at 3 PM) as they take a break from AAC play.

Tampa Bay Rays

On Friday night, the Rays won a wild game, 10 to 8 over Toronto to move to 3-2 on the year. It was a back and forth game for the Rays as the pitching struggle, but the offense bailed them out in this one. Matt Andriese (ND) went 4 innings, allowing 7 hits, 4 runs, walking 1 one, and struck out 4. Austin Pruitt was trash again, but Xavier Cedeno (1-0) went a third and got the win while Alex Colom got his 3rd save, going 1.1 innings in solid relief. Derek Norris was 1 for 3 with 2 RBIs and scored a run. Logan Morrison was 2 for 2 with an RBI in pinch hitting while Corey Dickerson was 2 for 2 with a run scored in the same role.

On Saturday, the Rays won 3 to 2 in walk-off fashion in the 11th inning to take the second straight game over Toronto and move Tampa to 4-2 on the year. Steven Souza Jr. was 2 for 4 with an RBI. Mallex Smith was 2 for 2 with 3 walks, scored a run, and stole 2 bases to push his total to 3 as he scored the game winning run. Evan Longoria was 1 for 6 with a run scored. Chris Archer (ND) went 7.2 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 runs, walked 3, and struck out 8. The bullpen did well with Erasmo Ramirez (1-0) getting the win after going 1.2 innings and striking out 2 batters.

On Sunday, the Rays won 7 to 2 to move to 5-2, the best start in franchise history and moving ahead in the AL East standings. Corey Dickerson was 1 for 4 with his 2nd home run of the year. Kevin Kiermaier was 3 for 4 and scored a run before being thrown out for arguing strikes (yeah, umpire crew was trash in this game). Jesus Sucre was 2 for 4 with a home run (1) and drove in 3 runs total. Steven Souza Jr. was 1 for 2 with his first home run, scored 2 runs, and drew 2 walks. Jake Odorizzi (1-1) went 6 innings, allowing 2 hits, 2 runs, walking 1 and struck out 4. Jumbo Diaz and Tommy Hunter worked a combined 3 scoreless innings.

The Rays will head to New York on Monday afternoon, first pitching coming at 1:10 PM as Alex Cobb takes the mound for the good guys.

Orlando Magic

On Saturday night, the Magic got wrecked 127 to 112 by Indiana to drop their ugly record to 28-52 on the season. The Pacers were hitting everything while the Magic had no answer. Terrance Ross had 29 points (6 for 11 from 3-point range) while adding 4 rebounds. Elfird Payton had 10 points and 10 assists (6 turnovers) while Evan Fournier, battling a sore wrist, had 23 points and 2 rebounds. There are now only two regular season games left as the Magic head to Chicago on Monday night (8 PM) as we get closer to closing out this trash season.

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