Answers provided by:
Summary of the Article
-Game 1 vs. BC: Bulls lose, but some players shine
-Game 2 vs. BC: Veterans provide a boost
-Several Freshman Impressive vs. BC
-Brewin Baller of the BC Series
-Looking ahead at Bradley
Welcome to the second in season blog post from It’s Brewin at McEwen. We’re going to try and make this a weekly if not bi-weekly thing. Make sure you subscribe to our email list below to make sure you don’t miss any of the content.
For this article, we want to share our takeaways from the 2 game mid-week series against Boston College and also take a look ahead at the upcoming home series with Bradley this weekend.
- What are your main takeaways from the Boston College series?
Game 1 – Bulls lost 18 to 8 – Finding the Silver Lining
Mark’s response (@usfbaseballfans): Although the Bulls lost this game by a wide margin, there were a few things I saw out there that I really liked and could pay dividends for the Bulls later in the season.
The Salty Vet Shines (By Mark)
Nick Gonzalez – (Source)
One thing that really impressed me was the way that junior shortstop Nick Gonzalez played. He returned from a 7 game hiatus (coach’s decision) this past Sunday against Brown when he entered the game as a substitute. Then, on Tuesday he made his first start since opening weekend. Nick’s strong suit has historically been his defense and he made a few spectacular plays that really showcased his prowess with the leather.
As a hitter, Nick looks much improved from his first couple of full seasons with the Bulls. He has always had the ability to make contact. Last season (2021), he had the lowest strikeout rate (12%) of any full time Bulls hitter. The issue was more the quality of that contact. Now in 2022, he’s starting to find barrels as evidenced by a 2 for 3 night against Boston College with 3 RBIs. Both of his hits were hard line drives up the middle.
A Promising Freshman Breaks Out (By Mark)
Marcus Brodil – (Source)
This game was a real breakout game for freshman outfielder Marcus Brodil. He reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances highlighted by two impressive base hits.
On Marcus’ first base hit, the lefty ripped a line drive down the opposite field line for a single. He then stole second base for his first collegiate steal. Later in the game, he ripped a nearly identical line drive down the opposite field line again and turned that into a double.
Marcus has a very mature approach at the plate for a player right out of high school. If you want to read more about the freshman outfielder from Dunedin check out his Brewin Feature here.
College Debut Comes in Year 2 (By Mark)
Another freshman who shined was right handed pitcher Tommy Groom. It’s his 2nd year with the program. Last year he redshirted and also battled some injuries. It was great to see him finally get on the mound as a Bull. He worked 1.1 scoreless innings in relief and recorded his first collegiate strikeout. A fastball at 90mph with good arm side run and a curveball at 84mph with vertical break helped him get the job done. I like how he kept the curveball down in the zone.
John’s response (@JohnnyKII): Regarding Tuesday night’s game of this midweek series, there was a lot of good to take away as mentioned by Mark (above).
Strong Performances at the Plate (By John)
To echo some of their highlights, Carmine Lane impressed per usual, producing a line of 3-4, 3 RBIs, & a HR to the deepest part of the ball park. I also really enjoyed Gonzalez & Brodil combining for 5-6 at the dish, really accentuating the promising future we have here in Tampa.
Just Not Our Night (By John)
Unfortunately, however, the pitching staff as a whole struggled with command walking 9 batters on the night. When it rains it pours apparently, as our defense committed 3 more errors in the field, with what really should have been scored as 5 errors. This contributed to 5 plus unearned runs for the Eagles, leaving us no chance at a victory despite an 8-run performance at the plate.
Game 2 – Bulls won 11 to 8 – Impact Players Return
Mark’s response (@usfbaseballfans):
Two Veteran Players Return (By Mark)
The main thing that stood out to me was the return of Roberto Peña and Matt Ruiz.
Both of them had not appeared in a game since opening weekend. They were each held out of action for 9 games due to what USF play-by-play announcer, Jim Louk, said on the most recent broadcast was a “coach’s decision”. Whatever the situation was, we’re happy to see it got worked out and hope that the players learn from it.
They both made their return during the 2nd game of the series on Wednesday. Peña started at 1st base while Ruiz started at 2nd. The two players, who each started every game of last year’s Super Regional run, didn’t waste any time making an impact once they were back on the field. Peña hit a home run in the 4th inning to deep center field and followed it up with another shot to deep left-center in the 6th.
Matt Ruiz – (Source)
Matt Ruiz also homered in the 5th inning with 2 outs and 2 base runners on. The three run shot helped the Bulls retake the lead 7 to 5 after they had just relinquished their 4 to 2 lead in the top half of the inning. The home run by Ruiz was key to swinging the momentum of the game back into the Bulls’ favor.
Impact on Both Sides of the Ball (By Mark)
Also noteworthy about the return of Ruiz and Peña is the impact their athleticism has on the defensive side of the ball. In the top of the 3rd, Ruiz ran down an awkward fly ball down the right field foul line. He quickly traveled a long way from his 2nd base spot to make that grab. Only 2 pitches later, the next batter hit a high pop up near the batter’s box and once Peña noticed that the catcher couldn’t find the ball in the air, he came charging in from first base to make a sliding grab. Their experience in high pressure games last year is going to make a big difference the rest of the season.
Freshman Pitcher Keeps Getting Better (By Mark)
Although his first collegiate start didn’t go how he wanted back on February 20th (4 ER, 1 IP), freshman pitcher Jack Cebert has been on fire ever since. He’s appeared in 3 games since opening weekend and has pitched 7 innings during which he has allowed just 1 run with 6 Ks to 1 walk. This hot streak has been highlighted by his start in this 2nd game against Boston College where he delivered 4 scoreless innings. I’m impressed with his ability to locate his pitches and keep his composure when there’s runners on base.
John’s response (@JohnnyKII):
Home Run Homestand (By John)
Wednesday’s day-game was a bright spot indeed capping off this midweek series; call it the home run homestand if you will. Drew Brutcher & Peña both left the yard twice. Word has it, Peña’s second blast still hasn’t landed. Fellow veteran Matt Ruiz joined in on the fun with a 3-run missile himself. In addition, Ben Rozenblum rounded out the 6 home run day with a shot of his own, his first as a USF Bull.
Mr. Moneyball Balls Out (By John)
Ben Rozenblum – (Source)
I want to expand on Ben Rozenblum a bit. Not only has the sophomore transfer from FIU come in and demanded respect with his bat, absolutely owning the leadoff spot, he has excelled defensively at multiple different positions in the field. He really defines the meaning of a utility player. After Nelson Rivera went down to injury late in the first game of this series, Rozenblum was called upon to start at catcher the next day.
Making his first start at catcher as a USF Bull, Big Ben put the team on his back with an incredible performance behind the dish.
In Ben’s college career before USF, he had appeared as a catcher 5 times at FIU and 16 times with his summer ball team, the Kingsport Axmen. You can tell he had experience as he was fluid behind the plate, only allowing one passed ball which could have just as easily been scored a wild pitch.
The Bulls New Closer (By John)
Lastly, my guy Hunter Mink continued to thrive in his newfound role as closer. He fanned 5 batters across 2 innings on 44 pitches. He continues his hot streak as he has yet to give up an earned run on the season.
- Who was the “Brewin Baller of the Series”?
Matt’s response (@BasesOnBulls):
Carmine Lane – (Source)
Carmine Lane continued his torrid start to the year in the 2 game weekday series against Boston College. During the 2 games, Carmine went 4/8, 2R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI, and a BB. For the year now, Carmine has compiled a .423 batting average, and a 1.267 OPS, building off of his Freshman All American season in his first year with the Bulls
- What to watch for vs. Bradley this weekend?
John’s response (@JohnnyKII):
This weekend, our Bulls take on the Bradley Braves for the first time in school history. Again, admittedly, I know very little about their roster head-to-toe. In review of their performance thus far this season, they can absolutely hit the ball. They currently have 5 full-time players hitting at least .300 on the season, while also posting 61 runs through 9 games, one of which was a shutout. However, their 3-6 record spells defensive woes and vulnerability on their pitching staff, & I absolutely see the brooms getting brought back out like we did against Stony Brook a couple of weeks back. I’m really looking forward to seeing our big three starting pitchers continue their progression through what seems to be a historical season for our starting rotation.
See you all at The Red this weekend!