USF Baseball: Starting pitching, offense carry Bulls to Friday sweep

Freshman Matt Ruiz went 5-for-7 on the day with three doubles, a triple and a homer.

TAMPA (Feb. 26, 2021) – The USF Bulls (2-3) were firing on all cylinders Friday as the home team opened a four-game series against Florida A&M (0-6) with a sweep at USF Baseball Stadium. The Bulls won the seven-inning opener, 3-1, and proceeded to rout the Rattlers in the finale, 13-0.

Jack Jasiak (Spring Hill) and Brad Lord (Crawfordville) each turned in quality starts in their respective outings, and the freshman duo of Drew Brutcher (Lakeland) and Matt Ruiz (Hialeah) remained scorching hot at the plating, combining to go 9-for-15 with seven extra-base hits and six RBI in the twinbill.

Game 1

Jasiak (1-0) recorded his first career complete game in the opener, allowing one run on two hits with nine strikeouts over 7.0 IP.

The Rattlers played small ball for their lone run of the afternoon against Jasiak, moving a runner into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt and eventually scoring on a sac fly. FAMU’s lead was short-live however, as the Bulls took the opposite approach to scoring their first of many more runs to come on Friday.

Ruiz deposited his second double in as many at-bats down the right field line to lead off the bottom of the fourth and Roberto Pena (Caracas, Venezuela) followed with a single. Riley Hogan (Orlando) then put USF in front with his first home run of the season to straight-away centerfield.

Game 2

The Bulls wasted little time lighting up the scoreboard in the finale, plating three runs in the bottom of the first and scoring in each of the first four frames to build a 11-0 advantage.

Pena broke the scoring seal with an RBI-triple in the first, Hogan followed with an RBI-double and Nick Gonzalez (Tampa) added a run-scoring single. Ruiz connected on his first collegiate homer in the second inning, a two-run blast, and the freshman added an RBI-triple in the third frame.

Brutcher capped the scoring with a two-run homer of his own to right field in the seventh inning.

Meanwhile, Lord (1-1) was in complete command on the hill en route to his first win with the Green & Gold. The right-hander tossed seven scoreless frames, allowed just three hits and struck out seven batters. Tanner Mink (Palm Harbor) and Caleb Pundsack (Groveland) each contributed a scoreless inning of relief to complete the shutout.

Quotable

Head coach Billy Mohl on Jack Jasiak’s start: “Jack is pitching like a veteran. He gave us seven quality innings and throws a lot of strikes, and that’s exactly what we needed to open the series.”

On the offense Friday: “Last weekend we swung the bats well, but didn’t have a lot to show for it in the win column. Our guys have kept plugging away though and we’ve had a lot of new guys contribute in the lineup. Today it all came together.”

On Brutcher & Ruiz: “They are two very mature freshmen. They are putting together quality at-bats and setting the table for our offense. I’m really proud of those two right now.”

Notable

·        Ruiz raised his batting average to .565 (13-23) after going 5-for-7 with three doubles, a triple and a homer on Friday.

·        Brutcher is hitting .474 (9-19) to begin his freshman campaign.

·        Daniel Cantu (Jacksonville) went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI in Game 2.

·        Dontae Mitchell (St. Petersburg) went 2-for-3 with a walk, RBI and two runs scored in Game 2.

·        The Bulls’ 17 hits and 13 runs in Game 2 are both new season highs.

·        Jasiak has allowed just one run on five hits over 13.1 IP in his first two starts this year.

Up Next

The Bulls and Rattlers square off again on Saturday at 2 p.m. from USF Baseball Stadium.

About USF Baseball

The USF Baseball program played its first season in 1966 and is entering its 56th season in 2021. The Bulls have won 1,628 games entering the 2021 season and made 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, including three since 2015. The Bulls have won four conference tournament titles (3 Sun Belt and 1 Metro) and had 126 all-conference selections. USF baseball players have been recognized with All-America honors 12 times, most recently with third baseman David Villar in 2018. Four players were selected in the 2018 MLB Draft, including the program’s fourth first round selection in pitcher Shane McClanahan, who appeared in the 2020 World Series with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Bulls saw continued success in head coach Billy Mohl’s first season in 2018, reaching 36 wins, advancing to the semifinals of the conference tournament for the first time since 2012, and making the program’s latest NCAA Tournament appearance while also achieving a ranking in multiple polls for the final two months of the season.

 #GoBulls 

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