After a brief stop in not-so-nice-weather Rhode Island, the URI baseball team is back in sunny Florida this weekend. The Rams are still struggling this season as they enter today’s action at just 2-11 on the season, including 1-9 in true road games. Rhody will have three chances to improve their road record on the season as they open up a three-game set with the South Florida Bulls.
2013 Record: 36-22 (17-7 in the Big East)
Key Losses: 1B/OF Jimmy Falla, OF James Ramsay, P Nick Gonzalez
Key Returners: SS/2B Nik Alfonso, IF Kyle Teaf, P Jimmy Herget
USF put together a solid season a year ago, and they haven’t lost a step despite moving from the Big East to the AAC. The Bulls come into today’s action at 11-6 on the season, although they’ve lost two straight and four of their last six. South Florida started the season 7-0, including wins over former URI opponent Florida Gulf Coast and A-10 foe Richmond.
The Rams will likely be dealing with Bulls starting pitchers Casey Mulholland, Jimmy Herget, and Brandon Lawson this weekend. Mulholland, a junior, has been up and down all season, but he’s coming off a huge eight inning, no runs, three hit performance against Northwestern. On the season, the righty sits at 1-0 with a 4.58 ERA in four starts. Herget has the best numbers so far for USF, posting a 1.48 ERA despite a 2-3 record. Lawson is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA, but has only made three starts.
South Florida’s hitting numbers are just as scary. The Bulls have five regulars hitting over .300 in the early going, led by freshman Daniel Portales. The outfielder will carry a stellar .373 average into tonight’s game with a double and 12 RBI. Sophomore Luke Maglich provides the power threat as he has a pair of homers to go along with his .328 average. He also leads the team with a .458 slugging percentage.
The three-game series gets underway tonight at 7:00 p.m. Saturday’s contest is slated for 6:00 p.m. with Sunday’s finale coming at 1:00 p.m. All games will be played at USF Baseball Stadium in Tampa, Florida.