Seeded fourth in the Gainesville Regional, South Florida was an unlikely winner, taking down No. 1 seed Florida in the opener, stomping Miami 10-2 in the second game, then needing two games to battle past South Alabama after Sunday’s game was suspended in the fifth inning.
Now at 31-28 on the season, the Bulls only made the field thanks to a run to the AAC Tournament championship after finishing with a .500 record in conference play. Now it’s safe to say that William Mohl’s team is playing its best baseball of the season with wins in seven of the last nine games.
Heading into Monday’s game, Carmine Lane was the only player for South Florida batting over .300, but he’s also one of three Bulls players with 11 or more home runs, so there is some pop to a lineup that hits .263 overall. Lane struggled in the regional, however, only hitting .176.
The pitching is arguably the team’s strength with opponents hitting .243 and the staff overall boasting a solid 4.05 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP. With a host of double headers on the schedule, South Florida’s staff is used to needing four starters and plenty of relief help on the weekend — the team hasn’t played a midweek game since late March.
Among the starters, redshirt freshman right-hander Jack Jasiak leads the way with a 2.89 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, striking out 89 in 93.1 innings. Opponents have only hit .210 against him. Jasiak was the starter in the win against Florida, going 4.0 innings while allowing four hits and one earned run while striking out three.
There’s no question that the Bulls are a hot team right now, but the staff won’t be as rested as the Longhorns heading to Austin. And Texas is surging itself after playing going undefeated in the regional and outscoring its opponents 33-5.
The bottom line — David Pierce’s team is two wins away from its 37th appearance in the College World Series, has a favorable matchup to get there, and could see No. 1 national seed Arkansas eliminated in the Fayetteville Regional on Monday.