March 2, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; South Florida Bulls starting pitcher Matt Reed (21) throws a pitch in the first inning during spring training against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The often-maligned USF baseball team (OK, maligned mostly by me, but still) hadn't beaten the Florida Gators since 2005. Last night didn't seem like the night to break an 11-game losing streak against UF, with the Gators ranked fifth in the country and USF having lost two of three to Louisville at home over the weekend.
Good thing you can't predict baseball. The Bulls went up to Gainesville and came away with a surprising 5-3 win, their first top-10 win of Lelo Prado's six years in Tampa.
Midweek starter Matt Reed gave USF 5 2/3 nice innings, allowing three runs (two earned) and seven hits while not walking anyone. After giving up a two-run homer to the Gators' Matt Zunino, Reed was lifted for Andrew Barbosa, who collected the last out of the sixth inning and ended up becoming the winning pitcher when the Bulls regained the lead in the top of the seventh.
Andrew Longley hit two solo home runs, the second of which provided the final margin. Of course it wouldn't be a Bulls-Gators baseball game if Florida didn't threaten at the end. Earl was definitely in trouble in the bottom of the ninth, with USF clinging to a 5-3 lead, two outs, and the bases loaded with Gators. But Stephen Leasure got a leisurely groundout from Zunino to end the game.
The win moves the Bulls to 28-14 on the season. The Big East isn't strong enough to merit much at-large consideration for the NCAA Tournament (yes, this is still a post about baseball), so the upcoming three-game weekend series against Villanova at the USF Baseball Stadium will be just as important as last night's win was.