After losing their first four games to start the season, the outlook did not improve for the Dons as they failed to get a win in four of their next five matchups. In their first game after going 0-4 in the series against Santa Barbara, USF lost a close game close to home, falling against UC Berkeley 4-5. The next game against Utah Valley was more of the same, except with a wider margin of victory for the other team, with the Dons losing 4-8. Finally there was the Dons second series of the year against Hawaii where they managed to grab their first win with a score of 5-4, but they fell short in the other two games with scores 3-11 and 7-9.
The Don’s most recent game against Hawaii took place this past Sunday and was the closest of the year so far, going to extra innings before a Dons loss. The game started out slow for the first two innings with neither team putting points on the board. Then in the third inning Hawaii started to light things up scoring three runs to take the lead.
It wasn’t long before the Dons bounced back though, scoring three runs of their own in the fifth inning. The first score came when shortstop Nico Giarratano hit a single up the middle to bat in catcher Ryan Matranga. Just two batters later Giarratano got his when Manny Ramirez Jr. got to base on an error and batted in both Nico and designated hitter Blake Valley.
The game stayed close right up till the final inning. The Dons never managed to grab the lead, but anytime Hawaii went up USF was right behind them to tie the game. Going into the bottom of the ninth inning the score was 7-4 in favor of Hawaii. The first Dons batter struck out but next up was second baseman Matt Sinatro, who managed to get on base before left fielder Harrison Bruce was walked advancing Sinatro to second. Giarratano was up next and notched another RBI when Sinatro scored off of his hit, which also put Bruce into scoring position. With Bruce and Giarratano on base everything was set up for the Dons to tie the game and send it to extra innings. They got their chance when Valley singled allowing the two base runners to score.
Although the Dons had fought for another chance at victory, their efforts were in vain as Hawaii stormed into the 10th inning scoring two runs. Despite putting three runners on base, the Dons were not able to score even one run and the inning ended with two strikeouts and a runner being tagged to give USF their eighth loss of the season.
Overall this loss brings the Dons record to 1-8. This gives the Dons a .111 winning percentage and puts them at last place in the WCC. Next up the Dons will head to UC Davis for a single game before travelling to San Luis Obispo for a three game series against Cal Poly.
Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics