This Week In Baseball: USF Finishes Regular Season Against Rutgers, Seeking To Improve NCAA Resume

Jimmy Herget pitched five strong innings against Rutgers on Thursday night. - Photo courtesy of GoUSFBulls.com.

Time's running out for the USF baseball team to improve their at-large candidacy for the NCAA Tournament. But they're off to a good start this week with wins over Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday and Rutgers on Thursday.

With the Big East tournament approaching and chances to improve their at-large resume dwindling, USF baseball needs as many wins as they can get. After a costly sweep at the hands of Seton Hall last week, the Bulls are halfway to rebounding from last weekend's results.

On Tuesday, USF atoned for an earlier shellacking against Florida Gulf Coast with a 6-4 win over the Eagles in Fort Myers. James Ramsay's sacrifice fly broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning, while Chris Norton and Kyle Copack each drove in insurance runs. Mike Clarkson pitched five good innings, but he lost his chance at the win when FGCU tied the game in the sixth. Adrian Puig ended up taking the W, and Jordan Strittmatter came on to get the save after Lawrence Pardo struggled with his command in the ninth.

The regular season is concluding this weekend with a pivotal series at the USF Baseball Stadium against Rutgers. With Jimmy Herget taking the ball in Thursday night's opener, the Bulls didn't need very many runs, but they jumped all over the Scarlet Knights in the first two innings and took a quick nine-run lead on the way to an 11-4 win. Ramsay had a career-high four hits, every Bull had at least one hit, and seven different players scored a run. With a huge lead backing him up and no reason to wear him out before the conference tournament, Herget was taken out of the game after pitching five innings. He allowed two runs and six hits, and struck out three.

The win on Thursday night clinched a top-four finish for the Bulls, meaning they will be the home team at least once when the Big East tournament begins next week in Clearwater. But right now, the seed doesn't matter very much. It's all about making the win column as big as possible, because with an RPI of 56 before Thursday night's game, they may still be on the outside looking in if they don't win the conference's automatic bid.

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