Matthew Giardino (@BasesOnBulls)
John Kaplan (@JohnnyKII)
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FAMU Recap (By John)
USF traveled to Tallahassee, FL to take on the FAMU Rattlers on Tuesday, April 19. In a series heavily weighted in USF’s favor, this matchup came at the right time breaking up a home conference series loss to Memphis and a tough road match up with Cincinnati.
USF got out to an early lead in the third inning after freshman Jackson Mayo plated RS freshman Keanu Jacobs-Guishard, both absolutely lacing doubles in the inning. This was quickly followed by an RBI single off the bat of sophomore Joaquin Monque to drive in Mayo. Later, in the 4th inning, Mayo would again come through with the bat, scoring freshman Marcus Brodil on a sacrifice fly to extend the Bulls’ lead out to 3-0. Brodil was one of two Bulls with a multi-hit day, coupled with the G.O.A.T., sophomore Carmine Lane, who went 3-5 on the day, continuing a scorching hot stretch for ‘Niner.
Senior Joe Sanchez got the call for the Arm Farm and he absolutely did not disappoint. Suave Sanchez threw 3 no hit innings, only surrendering one base runner via walk, striking out 3 FAMU batters in the process.
The Arm Farm would not look back from there as freshman Jack Cebert followed up with another solid performance out of the bullpen. Cebert turned in 3.1 strong innings of work in which he surrendered 4 hits, 1 earned run, and struck out 5 Rattlers to lead the staff in strikeouts for the day. The back end of the bullpen shut the door on FAMU in quick order. Freshman, Austin Grause cleaned up the remainder of the seventh inning in relief of Cebert. RS freshman Nolan Hudi pitched a scoreless & hitless 8th inning, continuing his dominance of late, striking out two. Then finally, RS sophomore Hunter Mink earned his 7th save of the season pitching a perfect 9th & striking out 1 batter.
In total, this was complete dominance from our pitching staff on the day. As a team, USF only allowed 1 earned run on 4 hits. They also combined for an 11-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. The Bulls would go on to win by a score of 3-1, earning their 21st victory of the season & their 5th straight against FAMU. USF now hits the road to take on their in-conference rival Cincinnati.
Matchup Overview (by Matt)
Cincinnati comes into Friday’s matchup 16-19 (6-3) on the season. Although the Bearcats have not fared well in non-conference play, they are off to a hot start in the AAC standing currently sitting tied for second in the conference. They’re coming off a mid week loss to Indiana in which they lost 11-4, but they also recently completed an impressive sweep at Wichita State in which they outscored the Shockers 20-10 to improve their conference mark to 6-3.
The Offense (by Matt)
As a team, the Bearcats boast a rather impressive offense. They currently slash .280/.378/.485 for a team OPS of .863. The Bearcats also lead the conference in HR’s with 52 on the season.
Individually, their lineup features 3 regulars with over a 1.000 OPS and 6 total players with over an .800 OPS. Griffin Merritt (OF, RS. JR), who tied for the team lead in HRs last season (10) is back this season and currently leads the team and conference in home runs with 14 to go along with 39 RBIs and a slash line of .336/.404/.768 (1.172 OPS). Besides Merritt, the Bulls will also need to be careful pitching to Joe Powell (C, RS. SO) who is slashing .370/.468/.717 (1.185 OPS) while pacing the team with 11 doubles. Lastly, look out for Paul Komistek (OF, RS. JR) slashing .364/.454/.564 (1.018 OPS) while also pacing the team with 51 hits.
The Rotation (by Matt)
The weekend rotation for the Bearcats has been solid for them this season, and seems to be solidified at this point. With 3 returners from last season’s team as well as a grad transfer, this weekend will most likely feature:
Friday – Beau Keathley (RHP, SR) 5 GS, 3-1, 44.1 IP, 4.87 ERA, 55 K/21 BB, .264 avg
Saturday – Connor Linn (LHP, SO.) 5 GS, 3-1, 26.0 IP, 3.81 ERA, 19 K/9 BB, .324 avg
Sunday – Tristan Weaver (LHP, Grad) 7 GS, 4-3, 34.0 IP, 5.03 ERA, 31 K/18 BB, .259 avg
Alternate – Zach Segal (RHP, SO/RS) 6 GS, 0-2, 32.1 IP, 8.07 ERA, 18 K/22 BB, .285 avg
The Bullpen (by John)
One key to victory this weekend against Cincinnati’s strong offensive lineup will be to capitalize on their pitching staff’s command issues as their staff combined for 26 walks over their last 4 games (weekend series vs. Wichita State & midweek matchup vs. Indiana University). While 9 of those walks were surrendered by the starting rotation, the other 17 BB were allowed by their bullpen. With that being said, another key to victory for the Bulls this weekend will be getting the starters out of the game. While their starting rotation does not come without flaws, their bullpen boasts a 7.66 cumulative ERA, & clearly walks play a huge role in this lack of production by their staff. This weekend, the Bearcats’ bullpen will likely feature:
Max Bergmann (RHP, SO) – 36.0 IP (13 app), 4.75 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 35 K/9 BB
Ryan Steckline (LHP, Grad) – 17.0 IP (13 app), 4.76 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 24 K/7 BB
Jackson Murphy (RHP, JR/RS) – 16.2 IP (14 app), 5.40 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 15 K/3 BB
Garrett Harker (RHP, FR) – 33.0 IP (14 app), 6.55 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 22 K/18 BB
Ben Vore (RHP, SO/RS) – 12.1 IP (9 app), 5.11 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 5 K/11 BB