June 1, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In an offensive thriller, the South Florida Bulls improved to 34-28 with a 14-13 come-from-behind victory over Stetson on Saturday afternoon in Game 3 of the NCAA Division I Baseball Tallahassee Regional at Dick Howser Stadium. Stetson concludes its season with a 42-19 record, while USF advances to Game 5 (Saturday, 7 p.m.) against the loser of this afternoon’s UCF/FSU game.
Stetson opened the game with back-to-back singles by centerfielder Josh Laws and catcher Chris Westervelt. With one out Bryan Zenchyck sent a double to right field to score Laws. South Florida rightfielder Bryan Hierlmeier slipped on the play, putting runners on second and third for the Hatters. Westervelt scored Stetson’s second run on a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Chris Cole and Zenchyk scored Stetson’s third run on a double to left to second baseman Andy Wilson.
Westervelt put the Hatters up 5-0 with his school-record tying 18th home run of the season to left with two outs in the top of the second. Shortstop Rusty Beale, who reached base on a single, scored ahead of Westervelt on the home run.
Cole opened the Hatter third with a double to right center. Cole advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and left fielder Joe Kruelic drew a two-out walk to put runners on first and third. Cole scored Stetson’s sixth run when he stole home as Kruelic intentionally became involved in a run-down between first and second. Cole scored as Kruelic made it safely back to first.
South Florida first baseman Ryan Handley led off the bottom of the third with a single to left for the Bulls’ first hit of the game. He advanced to second on a fielder’s choice, to third on a fly out to right and was stranded there when Stetson’s Brian Sullivan struck out Laws to end the inning. Sullivan retired nine of the 10 batters he faced in the first three innings.
Bulls’ centerfielder Mike Barclay opened the bottom of the fifth with a bunt single. First baseman Ronnie Handley reached base on a fielder’s choice and on the play Barclay was safe at second to put two runners on. Barclay and Macaluso then successfully executed a double steal to put runners on second and third. Barclay scored South Florida’s first run of the game on a fielder’s choice by second baseman Mike Macaluso. A double to right by designated hitter Chris Cuccia scored Macaluso and Heirlmeir, who had walked, to make the score 6-3. Cuccia scored on a home run to right center by shortstop Myron Leslie. South Florida trailed by one, 6-5, at the end of the inning.
South Florida chased Stetson starter Brian Sullivan out of the game in the bottom of the sixth after Bulls’ catcher Devin Ivany led off the inning with a single to left. Cameron Abel replaced Sullivan and promptly walked Barclay, the first batter he faced. Abel forced Handley to ground into a double play with Ivany advancing to third on the play. Ivany scored the game-tying run on an error by Beale, the Hatter shortstop. A single by leftfielder Mike Cunningham put runners on first and third and brought Stetson head coach Pete Dunn out to make another pitching change. John DeStefano replaced Abel and retired the final batter of the inning with the score tied 6-6.
Stetson began the top of the seventh with consecutive hits. A Westervelt single and a double by Brian Snyder put runners on second and third. The Hatters regained the lead, 7-6, as Westervelt scored on an infield ground out by Zenchyk. Steve Palinkas then replaced USF starter Jason Bartz on the mound. Palinkas struck out pinch hitter Lee Bagley and walked Wilson to put runners on first and third with two outs before USF head coach Eddie Cardieri replaced Palinkas with Joey Livingston. Livingston was greeted with a run scoring single by Church to increase the Hatters’ lead to 8-6. Kurelic then walked to load the bases. A base clearing double to center by Beale put Stetson up 11-6. A Law single to right made the score 12-6. He was thrown out at second to end the inning.
South Florida mounted a rally in the seventh as the Bulls scored three runs on five hits. Barclay landed the big blow of the inning with a two-run home run to bring the score to 12-9.
The Bulls continued to chip away at the Hatters’ lead in the eighth. Hierlmeier and Cuccia landed consecutive doubles to put runners on second and third with one out. After an infield pop out, Dunn made another change on the mound. He replaced DeStefano with Jack Collins. South Florida third baseman Jeff Baisley ripped a double to right field to score Hierlmeier and Cuccia and bring the score to 12-11 in favor of Stetson. Ivany flied out to center to end the inning.
South Florida took advantage of being the home team and made the most of its last at bat, scoring three runs off of three hits for the victory. Barclay led off with a double to right center and after a single by Scott Rachlin, was brought home by Macaluso, who doubled down the right field line. Travis Brown, who came in to pinch run for Rachlin, scored on a fielder’s choice by Cuccia. Macaluso crossed the plate with the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Leslie.
Keith Strickland, who pitched just two-thirds of an inning, earned the win for the Bulls and improved to 6-1. Stetson’s Jack Collins, who pitched just a third of an inning, but allowed three runs to score, got the loss and finished the season at 5-4.