Tampa, FL - Bulls sophomore Baron Stuart enjoyed another deep outing, pitching seven innings against the Houston Cougars (25-17) Friday night at the USF Baseball Stadium. He gave up three runs early, but settled down to complete seven IP and spare the USF bulls pen. In his last outing, Stuart went eight innings, yielding just one run to The Citadel. Tonight, his line included five hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Nelson Alvarez closed it out, pitching the final two innings giving up no hits or walks and striking out three. Alvarez lowered his season ERA to 2.49.
Stuart surrendered two runs in the second inning when he gave up three consecutive hits to the Coogs. With one out, Houston's Rey Fuentes doubled. Houston's Derrick Cherry followed with a single before Kobe Hyland doubled down the right field line to score both runners. Thanks to a line out and a fielder's choice, Stuart got out of the inning giving up just two runs. The Coogs also added a run in the fourth when Cherry smashed a solo home run to left center.
The Bulls put up one run in the 5th inning when Austin Bodrato led off with a single to center. Tyler Dietrich flied out before freshman Alex Bello doubled to left center, scoring Bodrato.
The Bulls trailed until a three run sixth put them up a run. The inning started with a Jordan Santos single. Joe Genord flied out and Chris Chatfield wallked. Julio Cortez greeted a Houston pitching substitution with an RBI single to right field. Bodrato followed with a walk before Tyler Dietrich met a third Houston pitcher. Then the Coogs' wheels came off. On Dietrich's fielder's choice, combined with a Houston throwing error, Bodrato and Chatfield crossed the plate.
The Bulls added a final, insurance run, in the eighth when Bello again knocked in Bodrato. This time with a single to right field.
The Bulls pulled back to .500 at 20-20 in notching their fifth straight win. USF finished the night with nine hits, while striking out eleven times.
The teams meet again tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at the USF Baseball stadium.