May 16, 2001
METAIRIE, La. -- South Florida scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning-- all unearned -- to defeat Louisville 10-5 in the first round of the FedEx Conference USA Tournament Wednesday afternoon at Zephyr Field in suburban New Orleans.
The Bulls (29-27) will face Southern Mississipi (26-30) in a winner's bracket game Thursday at 4 p.m. CDT. The Golden Eagles, the tournament's No. 7 seed, upset No. 2 seed Houston 6-2 in the first game of the day.
Louisville reliever Carlos Fernandez hit Mike Macaluso, USF's No. 9 hitter, with one out in the eighth to ignite the rally. Macaluso stole second and Fernandez was lifted with a 2-1 count on Ben Drawdy. All-C-USA first-team reliever Josh Ring entered and threw two more balls to Drawdy. Ring struck out Myron Leslie for the second out of the inning but had the heart of the lineup to face.
He saw all of it.
Daniel Boyd, a first-team All-C-USA selection for the second consecutive season, lined a shot past third baseman Mike Budak to score Macaluso and Drawdy. The play was ruled an error on Budak and all five runs in the frame were unearned. Ironically, the Cardinals entered the post-season with the nation's sixth-best fielding percentage.
"Daniel Boyd, with a sore right arm, got just enough of that ball to bring those two runs home," said USF coach Eddie Cardieri. "We just put that inning together. They hit a guy. We hit and ran and they threw the ball in the dirt, they walk the next guy and then Dan gets up and did what he did. The hitters that followed him all had big-time at-bats and that was the ballgame."
Mike Eylward followed with his third hit and his second double of the game, this one into right field that scored Boyd from second and gave the Bulls an 8-5 advantage. The hit was the first of four consecutive for the Bulls.
"In the eighth we put a few hits togther," said Eylward. "Everybody had big hits and big at-bats. It was a big inning because we're going into the late innings and we're tied at 5-5. They bring in a new pitcher and the guys adjusted well and we got some big hits."
Mike Cunningham drove in his first run since April 15 with a single into left field that brought home Eylward. Allen Shilrey hit a slow roller into the hole between first and second that second baseman Matt Jarboe could not make a play on and pinch-hitter Kris Courier followed with a single through the right side that scored Cunningham and gave the Bulls a 10-5 lead.
David Richtberg allowed a pair of singles in the ninth but coaxed Adam Haley into a game-ending 4-3 double play to end the game.
Jason Bartz (3-2) pitched 1 1/3 innings of hitless relief of starter John Gorham to earn the win. The junior right-hander entered the game with two outs and the lead run on second base in the top of the seventh. Bartz forced Morgan Bojorquez to fly out to center field to end the inning and mowed the Cardinals down in the eighth.
"I just came in and wanted to throw some doughnuts up to keep us in the game," said Bartz. "I knew if we could score a run or two that this was our ballgame so I just wanted to throw some shutouts. I knew Richtberg would come in and close the door."
The win was Bartz's second in five days as he earned a victory over Houson with 1 2/3 innings of relief Saturday. "Lately I've been coming in in relief and I've been picking up a few wins and keeping our team in some ballgames so it's been real gratifying to me just knowing that I'm getting better and that I'm helping the team."
Louisville will face Houston in an elimination game Thursday at 10 a.m.