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.

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