29 Nov 2021 | 08:31 | Baseball
AUSTIN, Texas (June 14, 2021) – They say all good things must come to an end. And, on Sunday night in the NCAA Austin Super Regional, the University of South Florida (31-30) saw its magical postseason run and 2021 campaign come to a close.
South Florida spent the past month rewriting its record book before the final chapter concluded with the Bulls reaching their first-ever NCAA Super Regional.
The Bulls put a serious scare into the No. 2-nationally ranked and host Teas Longhorns (47-15) on Saturday night with a game-tying home run in the ninth inning before the home team survived with a 4-3 victory. On Sunday, South Florida took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning in hopes of stretching the series to a decisive third game.
The Longhorns had different plans, however, and punched their ticket to Omaha with a 12-4 victory over USF.
Redshirt sophomore Jarrett Eaton (Mobile, Ala.) made a name for himself this postseason and continued his streak of clutch hitting with a two-out two-run single in the bottom of the first inning to give the Bulls a 2-0 advantage.
Eaton’s base hit marked the first time in five NCAA tournament games that Texas trailed its opponent.
The Longhorns answered with a four spot in the top of the second and stretched their lead to 6-2 in the third inning.
Roberto Peña (Caracas, Venezuela) cut the Bulls’ deficit to 6-3 with an RBI-single in the fourth inning to score Jake Sullivan (Tampa). Texas put up two more runs in the fifth before Matt Ruiz (Hialeah) doubled home Eaton to slash the Longhorns’ lead in half again at 8-4.
Texas put the game out of reach with another crooked number in the seventh inning.
South Florida’s four runs in the setback were the most the Longhorns have allowed in during their current NCAA run.
Quotable – Head Coach Billy Mohl
· On the Bulls’ improbable postseason run – “That’s a special group of kids in that locker room that finally gelled, and this was one of the best months of baseball in my entire life. I love them to death. They changed the course of USF Baseball for years to come. The bar has changed, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
· On the future, and what it will take to return to this stage and beyond – “We’re still a very young team and will be returning a lot of players from this group. This experience is invaluable for them. As this group gets older and matures, you’ll see some of our little mistakes go away and we’ll benefit from having been here.”
Collin Sullivan (Randolph, Mass.) started Sunday’s game and concludes his USF career with 275 strikeouts (tied fifth all-time).
Fellow seniors Logan Lyle (Bartow), Dylan Burns (Vero Beach), Baron Stuart (Okeechobee) and Joseph Sanchez (Miami) each pitched in relief on Sunday.
Eaton recorded nine of his 11 RBI this year in the postseason and batted .368 (14-38) over those 11 games.
Peña concludes the year with 27 extra-base hits (tied for eighth-most in single-season history).
C. Sullivan and Carmine Lane (Lake Placid) were each named to the 2021 American All-Conference Team…Lane was also named a Freshman All-American.
After being picked to finish last in the AAC preseason coaches poll, the Bulls won the conference tournament for the first time since 1995 (Metro).
USF won its first-ever NCAA Regional (Gainesville) in the program’s 14th appearance to advance to the Super Regional.
The Bulls became just the seventh Regional No. 4 seed to ever advance to a Super Regional.
USF defeated Florida in the postseason for the first time since 1982 and Miami for the first time ever during the Gainesville Regional.
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.
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