Baseball’s Back

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Michael Baham

Staff Writer

 

After a 3-1 opening weekend series against visiting Northern Colorado (3-6), San Francisco looked to continue their strong start during their trip across the Pacific to Hawaii against the University of Hawaii at Manoa (3-4).

Both of the starters in the first game pitched shutout gems. Dons starter, junior Grant Goodman, tossed 7.0 innings while fanning five. Unfortunately he didn’t factor into the decision leaving the game with a 0-0 tie. Junior Ross Puskarich and senior Nico Giarratano both had a pair of hits. After nine innings of play, the Dons and Warriors headed into the extra innings. In the tenth inning, USF was able to put a run on the board after senior Allen Smoot doubled in Giarratano. In the bottom of the tenth Hawaii knocked in a game-tying run off relief pitcher, senior Joey Carney. In the 11th inning San Francisco smacked in two more runs for a 3-1 lead after junior Aaron Ping singled in a run and Puskarich sprinted for home after a wild pitch. The Dons took game one after 11 innings of play.

Game two’s final box score looked exactly identical to game one’s 3-1 win for USF after 11 innings of play. Giarratano showed off some power in the sixth inning sending a big fly out over the left field fences. But in the ninth inning the Warriors were able to knot the score 1-1 after a leadoff double, a pinch runner, then a pinch-hit single to drive in the pinch-runner. In the 11th inning, Giarratano powered a double to right field, then took third after an errant throw by Hawaii’s second baseman. Smoot drove in Giarratano to retake the lead and San Francisco packed on one more run after a fielder’s choice. Sophomore Benji Post came in for his third inning of relief to earn the win.

Even though USF did so many little things right they just couldn’t squeak out a third straight win in Manoa. Even with two doubles, a triple and four stolen bases, they would eventually lose 2-3. Puskarich had another multi-hit effort and recorded the Don’s second triple of the season in the sixth inning. That triple led to a run where they were able to pull back one run after an 0-2 deficit. With a 1-2 scoreline, going into the bottom of the sixth, Hawaii manufactured a run to get back their 2-run advantage. In the top of the seventh USF chalked up one more run, 2-3. In the ninth inning the Dons were given a breath of hope when a walk, wild pitch, and groundout got senior Harrison Bruce to third base. Senior Matt Sinatro hit a grounder up the first base side and Bruce broke for home but Hawaii’s first baseman made the head’s up play and threw out the game-tying run.

In the last game of the four-game set, San Francisco lost another close one with a similar score as game three, 2-3. Manoa jumped out to a 1-0 lead quickly in the first inning after a couple of errors lead to an unearned run and a second unearned run in the second. USF scored a run in the fourth after Giarratano scored off a Puskarich double. The Dons scored their second and last run of the game after freshman Tyler Villaroman singled, stole second, and reached home after a junior Brady Bate’s base knock. The Warriors relief pitcher’s induced three straight flyouts in the eighth inning and a strikeout and two ground outs in the ninth.

Now with a 5-3 record, San Francisco is headed east to South Carolina for the Coastal Carolina Tournament from Friday, March 3 until Sunday, March 5. They’ll play Albany in their first game, followed by Coastal Carolina, Winthrop the next day, and Coastal Carolina one more time. Follow live stats on usfdons.com

At time of print, the score for Tuesday’s game against Utah Valley was unavailable.

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