TAMPA, Fla. – Sophomore Robb Paller and first-year Will Savage each drove in their second runs of the season, but South Florida posted seven runs to come away with a 7-2 victory Sunday in the series finale against Columbia.
Juniors Jordan Serena and David Vandercook gave Columbia two early base runners with Serena getting hit by a pitch and Vandercook earning a walk to lead off the first inning. Senior captain Aaron Silbar moved each of them up a base with a sacrifice bunt that set up Paller’s RBI single through the left side, to put Columbia up 1-0.
USF fired back in the bottom of the second frame with a pair of runs. The first three hitters reached base safely via walk, but Columbia starting pitcher Kevin Roy was able to strikeout Hayden Kelley in the next at bat. Nik Alfonso though came through for the Bulls with a 3-2 single to knot the game at 1-1. Kyle Teaf put USF ahead 2-1 with an RBI fielder’s choice in the next at bat.
The Lions responded with the equalizer in the top of the third, which started when junior Gus Craig snapped his hitless streak to begin the season in a big way, slamming a triple to put himself in scoring position. Savage then brought him home with a single to third base off a 2-0 pitch, putting Columbia ahead, 1-0.
The Bulls took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth, beginning in similar fashion as the second inning. The first three hitters reached base safely, before Columbia got an out. Columbia was able to get two outs in the next at bat, as Zac Gilcrease grounded into a double play, but Kelley was able to score on the play for the go-ahead run. Daniel Portales singled in the next at bat to make it a 4-2 contest.
USF added one run in the sixth and pair in the eighth to close out the scoring and cap the series with the 7-2 victory.
Savage finished the game 2-for-3, while catcher Mike Fischer went 2-for-4 at the dish. Lawrence Pardo won his first game of the year for USF after taking over in relief in the fifth frame.
The Lions return to action next weekend with a four-game set at Kennesaw State in Georgia.