There was a lot going on the diamonds for USF baseball, softball, and for the Tampa Bay Rays. Meanwhile the USF football team had its spring game in front of the home crowd at Corbett Stadium. Here is the latest in this Sports Corner.
USF Men’s Basketball
There was another departure and a newcomer for the Bulls over the weekend. Starting with promising freshman guard Mike Bibby leaving the team. Bibby averaged 6.6 PPG this past year for the Bulls, adding some depth and skill at the position, but now he is leaving.
In more positive news, the Bulls are reportedly adding transfer point guard Stephan Jiggetts from Fairleigh Dickinson. Jiggetts averaged 13.5 PPG and 4.2 APG last year and could be a starter on day one with the lack of a returning point guard. The Bulls have recently added 3-star forward Justin Brown and Penn State transfer guard Terrance Samuel who is also eligible for just one year. Coach Gregory is adding some stop gaps to the roster because let’s face it, the program simply needs bodies a this stage because the roster is completely turning over at this stage.
The Spring game was on Saturday afternoon at Corbett Stadium. From what parts I watched and reports from media there, it went well and there was a solid crowd on hand. Quinton Flowers, Brett Kean, and Chris Oladokun all had their moments. Darius Tice looked good, Marquez Valdes-Scantling had a big game. On defense, Deatrick Nichols, Deadrin Senat, and others made plays out there. Marcus Norman, the rising offensive left under his own power after possibly hurting his knee, which is something to be concerned about moving forward, but aside from that, there were no injuries to report on which is a big sigh of relief. So, there you go, offense had some highlights, defense had a few plays, the two sides played a very competitive game and now they head into the summer period where the players will continue to work and the coaches will continue to recruit.
On Friday night the Bulls fell 3 to 2 in 10 innings to Cincinnati, dropping their record to 28-7 (4-4) as they dropped the series. Kevin Merrell was 1 for 5 with an RBI while Luke Borders was 2 for 5. The team was just 6 for 34 in this game and left 8 men on base, just nothing going for them at the plate. Shane McClanahan (ND) went 5.1 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 runs, walking 4, and struck out 8. Ryan Valdes was solid in relief, allowing 3 hits over 2.2 innings of work while striking out 3. Andrew Perez (3-2) got the short end of the stick, going 2 innings, allowing that one hit and one run that cost them the game.
On Saturday afternoon, the Bulls won 4 to 2, moving their record to 29-7 (5-4) as they avoided the sweep against Cincinnati. All of the runs the Bulls scored were thanks to the home run. Luke Borders was 2 for 4 with 2 home runs, Joe Genord was 2 for 4 with a solo shot, and Kevin Merrell was 1 for 3 with a home run and drew a walk. Peter Strzelecki (ND) went 4.1 innings, allowing 5 hits, 2 runs, and struck out 4. Joe Cavallaro (3-1) went 2 innings to close out the game, striking out 2 batters.
On Wednesday the Bulls will hit the road to take on UNF (6 PM) to take a break from conference play.
On Friday night, the Bulls bounced back, winning 7 to 2 over Central Florida, moving their record to 26-20 (5-5) on the season. Kristen Wyckoff was 2 for 3 with a 3-run triple and drew a walk. Bethaney Keen was 3 for 4 with a double and scored a run. Lauren Evans was 3 for 4 and also scored a run. Cheyenne Eggens (7-6) went 5.2 innings, allowing 7 hits, 2 runs, walking 2 and struck out one batter. Hannah Parker went 1.1 innings, allowing 1 hit, 1 walk, and struck out 3 batters. She was also 1 for 2 with a 2-run double at the plate as well.
On Saturday, the Bulls lost 5 to 4 in 9 innings to drop their record to 26-21 (5-6) on the year, dropping 2 of 3 to that school in Orlando. Kristen Wyckoff was 1 for 4 and scored 2 runs. Astin Donovan was 1 for 2 with a home run, driving in two total, and drew a walk. Cassidy Boyle was 1 for 1 with an RBI. Susan Wysocki, in relief of Kalen McGill, went 2.2 innings, allowing a hit and walked 2 batters. Hannah Parker (7-5), took the loss, going 5 innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 run, walking 3 and striking out one batter.
The Bulls will host Memphis on Friday afternoon to begin a 3-game series, first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM.
Tampa Bay Rays
On Friday night the Rays won 10 to 5 in a crazy game as they moved to 6-5 on the year. The offense was cooking in this game. Brad Miller was 3 for 4 with a home run and drove in 3 runs, falling a double short of a cycle. Steven Souza Jr was 2 for with a home run and scored 3 runs in the game while Shane Peterson, just called up for Mallex Smith on the DL, went 2 for 4 with a 2-run home run. Can’t forget, Logan Morrison and his grand slam in the game as well. Chris Archer (2-0) went 5.2 innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 run, walking 2, and struck out 6. Austin Pruitt struggled late and Kevin Cash had to call on Alex Colome to close the game out late but they got it done.
On Saturday, the Rays fell 2 to 1, dropping their record to 6-6, but they lost more than just the game. Jake Odorizzi went just an inning before leaving the game with a pulled hamstring. He was placed on the DL right after as the team recalled Chase Whitley to take his place. The Rays offense managed just 3 hits in the game as Chris Sale dominated them. Evan Longoria was 1 for 4 with the lone RBI and struck out once. Erasmo Ramirez went 4 innings in solid relief of Odorizzi, allowing 3 hits, 1 run, and struck out 2. Tommy Hunter (0-1) took the loss after going 1.1 innings, allowing 2 hits, 1 run, walking one, and striking out another.
On Sunday, the Rays fell 7 to 5, dropping their record to 6-7 as the bullpen continues to blow games. Kevin Kiermaier went 2 for 3 with a run scored and stole a base (3). Corey Dickerson was 2 for 4 with a home run (3) and Tim Beckham went 2 for 4 with his first home run of the year. Alex Cobb (ND) went 5 innings, allowing 11 hits, 4 runs, and walked one. Danny Farquhar (0-1) took the loss, but it was Xavier Cedeno who blew the game, allowing a run and recording 2 outs. Austin Pruitt went an innings, allowing 3 hits, 1 run, walking one, and struck out one.
I have said it before, I am done with Pruitt. In 6 games, he has thrown 5.2 innings, allowing 20 hits, 13 runs, 3 walks and has struck out 3 and has compiled an ERA of 15.88. He has no business on a major league team, but if he’s our best option for the Rays out of Durham, that should be terrifying for fans.
The Rays wrap up the 4-game series on Monday morning with first pitch coming at 11:05 AM. The Rays will turn the ball over to Blake Snell for that start.
Bonus, Durham Bulls! On Friday night the Bulls fell 6 to 4 to Gwinnett Braves, pushing them to 7-2 on the year. Willy Adames was 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. Jake Bauers was 2 for 4 and scored a run while Curt Casali was 2 for 4 with a HR (1) with 3 RBIs. Ryan Yarbrough (0-2) went 5.1 innings, allowing 10 hits, 6 runs while striking out 9.
On Saturday, Durham fell 8 to 6 to Gwinnett, dropping their record to 7-3. The Bulls had to go to the bullpen from the jump after Chase Whitley was scratched being called up by the big club. Willy Adames was 1 for 5 with a home run (1) and drove in 3 runs. Curt Casali was 2 for 4 with an RBI while Cade Gotta was 2 for 4. Adam Kolarek went 1.1 innings, allowing a hit and struck out one, he was the only reliever not to allow a run in this game.
On Sunday, the Bulls lost again, 7 to 5 to Gwinnett to drop their record to 7-4. Jake Bauers was 1 for 3 with a home run (1) and drove in 2 runs total. Willy Adames went 0 for 3 with a walk, scored a run, but struck out twice as the early season struggles continue. Curt Casali was 2 for 4 and scored a run. Jacob Faria (ND) went 5.1 innings, allowing 6 hits, 4 runs, walked 1, and struck out 7.