April 2009


Greetings folks,

Happy finals week to you all. As the semester ends, we’ll be taking a short blog break until May 11. At that point, we’ll continue our sports coverage throughout the summer.

Study hard!

-K.K.

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USF kept itself in prime position to win the Big East regular season title Sunday, completing a three-game sweep of West Virginia — a team that was second in the standings entering this weekend — with a 9-6 victory at Red McEwen field Sunday afternoon.

The win gives USF 15 conference wins this season — the most in the baseball program’s history. USF is 9-0 at home in conference play.

“We’ve got one more weekend (at home) and I hope that record stays intact,” said coach Lelo Prado. “We’ve got two big midweek games, we’ve got to take care of business, and if our guys stay focused, we’re a fun to watch and a fun team to coach.”

The Bulls took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning with a pair of RBI base-hits from Chris Rey and Junior Carlin.

And Carlin wasn’t finished.

He led off the fifth with a triple and scored after Sam Mende laced one into left field, sparking a three-run inning to extend USF’s lead to 5-2.

Shawn Sanford, who started on the mound for USF, pitched six innings, gaining the win while giving up seven hits and five runs, three of which came in the top of the sixth, to cut it at 6-5.

However, USF would have another three-run effort in the bottom of the seventh and Kevin Quackenbush provided three innings of relief to seal the victory, giving the Bulls sole possession of first place in the Big East.

“Our pitching was great,” Prado said. “When you can shut down a team like (West Virginia), you’ve got to tip your hat to the guys that started and the guys that came in did a great job.”

USF defeated West Virginia 8-3 on Friday and 11-2 Saturday.

The Bulls (15-3 in the conference) still have to play three of the five teams trailing them in the standings: Louisville, Notre Dame and Cincinnati.

-K.K.

Randy Fontanez pitched a complete game, and USF walked off with an 8-3 victory tonight at Red McEwen Field.

The Bulls play WVU Saturday night at 7 p.m. Join us on here Sunday for more blog updates from the series finale at 1 p.m.

-K.K.

Randy Fontanez just recorded his sixth strikeout of the game, and the Bulls lead 7-3 heading to the bottom of the eighth inning.

With USF’s bullpen consistently giving up late leads this season it will be interesting to see if Fontanez will go the distance.

Bet on that not happening, as two Bulls are in the pen warming up right now. USF is three outs away from perhaps its biggest win of the season.

-K.K.

A bit of controversy here at Red McEwen Field as Trey Manz looked to have given the Bulls a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run to center field.

However, the ball hit the tarp behind the centerfield wall. It was clearly a home run, but the umpired decided it did not go over the fence.

Lelo Prado was not happy. He was ejected shortly after. Well, he’s still on the field going nuts right now. To be fair, it’s for good reason.

It was initially signaled a home run by the umpires, so Manz jogged around the bases. Yet, the centerfielder tossed the ball in after it came back into play, relayed to the catcher and Manz was tagged out.

Still 5-3. Prado tossed. Big East baseball at its finest.

-K.K.

I haven’t seen a police report on this issue, but area reports say USF tight end Trent Pupello was arrested Friday and charged with four felony counts of aggravated assault and aggravated battery. puppello

Here are the full stories on those from the Times and Tribune.

Pupello has been away from the team because of injury and academic issues. It prompted coach Jim Leavitt to make a statement.

“We have not been involved with Trent Pupello since the beginning of the semester,” he said via email. “He was not going to play for us in 2009 because of an injury and academic issues. I am just learning of the situation. However, if the charges were true, we would never allow anyone that is involved in behavior of that nature to be part of the USF football program.”

USF starter Randy Fontanez put himself in a tough situation in the fourth when he put two runners on with no one out. He escaped, though.

In the fifth things were different.

Fontanez walked Jedd Gyorko to load the bases with two outs remaining in the top of the fifth, and Vince Belnome made things interesting with a three-run gapper into left-center field, slicing USF’s lead to 5-3 entering the bottom half of the fifth.

USF currently Koscso on first after an infield single. Zero outs.

-K.K.

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