The Bulls bounced back to win the final two games of the series over Memphis on the opening weekend of AAC play. 

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MLB season slated to start with Yankees-Jays, Tigers-Indians

TAMPA (March 24, 2024) – The University of South Florida Bulls (14-10, 2-1 AAC) claimed the final two games of a three-game weekend set against the Memphis Tigers (12-14, 1-2 AAC) to secure their first conference series win as AAC play began with a hard-fought 5-3 victory in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon at USF Baseball Stadium.

“That was a gritty win by our team today and I’m really proud of how they battled the last two days after Friday night’s game,” said head coach Billy Mohl. “I was happy with how our pitching staff responded after Friday’s game as well. We got some timely hits this afternoon and winning the first conference series of the season is always big.”

The Bulls found themselves in an early hole Sunday with the series up for grabs, but chipped away, and after taking the lead were able to hold off the Tigers.

Eric Snow (Forsyth, Ga.) turned in one of his best offensive performances of the season, with the Bulls still playing short-handed through injuries, and finished the day 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI. Snow drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning and added a big insurance run in the eighth.

“It was really good to see him get going and come through in some big spots,” Mohl added about Snow’s day.

Memphis took an early 2-0 lead in the second inning against South Florida starter Bryce Archie (Powder Springs, Ga.). The Bulls scratched one run across in the third inning and tied the game at 2-2 on a sacrifice fly by Drew Brutcher (Lakeland) in the bottom of the fourth.

Snow came through with the go-ahead RBI in the bottom of the fifth frame and Marcus Brodil (Dunedin) followed with an RBI-single to pad the USF lead to 4-2.

The Tigers cut their deficit to 4-3 in the sixth inning, but were shut down from there as the USF bullpen held strong for the remainder of the ballgame.

Matt Brown (Oakville, Ontario, Canada) earned the win in relief of Archie – his second of the season. Brown allowed one unearned run on one hit with two strikeouts over 1.2 IP. Austin Newton (Tampa) struck out a pair of batters over 1.2 IP of scoreless relief and Riley Skeen (Pompano Beach) earned his first save of the season with 1.2 IP and four strikeouts. Skeen struck out the side in the top of the ninth inning.

Notable

  • Archie made his sixth appearance of the season and second straight Sunday start. The two-sport star turned in his longest outing to date with 4.0 IP, allowing two runs on four hits with a career-best four strikeouts. Memphis loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first inning, but Archie proceeded to strikeout out the final two batters of the frame.
  • John Montes (Toa Alto, Puerto Rico) went 2-for-4 with a walk, RBI and two runs scored. His .405 batting average leads the team and ranks third in the AAC.
  • Brutcher drew three more walks on Sunday and now has 33 this season and 125 in his career – one away from tying for 10th all-time in program history. Brutcher, who ranks sixth all-time in career home runs (36), has drawn a walk in 18 of 24 games this year. He has earned two or more free passes 11 times this season and walked three times in a game four times.
  • Montes and Brutcher each hit .500 in the three-game series against Memphis.
  • In limited play this season, Brodil entered the weekend with just one hit, but 4-for-9 with a homer and two RBI in the series.
  • Rafael Betancourt (Deltona), who has been sidelined since injuring his knee on Tuesday at FGCU, received optimistic results on his MRI, but a timetable for his return is yet to be determined.   
  • Bobby Boser (Wesley Chapel) remains sidelined with a hand injury. The Bulls are hopeful for his return later this season.

Up Next

The Bulls will hit the road for their next five games beginning on Tuesday, March 26 at Bethune-Cookman at 6:30 p.m. in Daytona Beach.     

Double Play Passes, which include one ticket to every home baseball and softball game, can be purchased now for $99. Group and single game tickets are also on sale and can be purchased here or by calling 1-800-Go-Bulls.

About USF Baseball

The USF Baseball program played its first season in 1966 and is entering its 59th season in 2024 under head coach Billy Mohl (seventh season). The Bulls have made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, including four since 2015, and earned their first-ever Super Regional berth in 2021. USF was ranked in the Top 25 by five different publications in the final 2021 polls, checking in as high as No. 16. The Bulls have won five conference tournament titles (3 Sun Belt, 1 Metro and 1 American) and six regular season championships (3 Sun Belt, 2 Metro and 1 C-USA). USF baseball players have been recognized with All-America honors 12 times, most recently with third baseman David Villar in 2018, and 19 have earned Freshman All-America accolades, most recently Eric Snow in 2023. Four Bulls were selected in the 2022 MLB Draft. Former 2018 first-round selection, Shane McClanahan, became the program’s first-ever MLB All-Star in 2022 and was the starting pitcher for the American League.