USF Forces Decisive Semifinal Game with 1-0 Win Over Connecticut

CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL
HIGHLIGHTS

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Righthander Derrick Stultz threw a three-hit, complete-game shutout, allowing Jimmy Falla's solo home run in the fourth inning to stand up as the gamewinner in the Bulls' 1-0 victory against Connecticut in the semifinal round of the BIG EAST Baseball Championship Saturday afternoon at Bright House Field.

The teams will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Saturday with the winner advancing to the final to face St. John's Sunday.

Stultz, who pitched two shutout innings in Thursday's 12-5 USF win against Pittsburgh before a lengthy weather delay forced him to exit the game, was sharp from the start. He allowed three hits - all singles - and saw just two Connecticut players reach second base. He retired the last seven men in order and improved to 9-1 with the win.

Connecticut's best chance to score came in the bottom of the third inning, when a pair of USF errors put runners on first and second with no outs and the top of the order due. But Stultz escaped the jam with a popup in the infield and a pair of fly outs to the outfield.

Connecticut starter Brian Ward was equally effective in the early going as he didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning. That hit turned out be the difference, however, as Falla stroked a 2-0 pitch over the fence in leftfield to put the Bulls on the board.

Stultz retired the Huskies in order in the sixth, but Connecticut had another opportunity to get on the board in the seventh inning when Eric Yavarone hit a one-out base hit and Ryan Moore drew a two-out walk to put runners on first and second. But Stultz struck out Billy Ferriter to strand the two runners and the Huskies went down in order in the eighth and ninth innings.

Stultz walked two and struck out four, throwing 104 pitches in the win. Falla went 2-for-3, finishing with the only hits of the game for USF.

Ward took the tough-luck loss, falling to 3-5 after he allowed one run and one hit in five innings. He struck out six and walked four.


2012 BIG EAST Baseball Championship Schedule

Wednesday, May 23
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com)
Game 1 - No. 3 Seton Hall 6, No. 6 Rutgers 1
Game 2 - No. 2 St. John's 12, No. 7 Notre Dame 2 (7 innings)
Game 3 - No. 1 Louisville 8, No. 8 Pittsburgh 4
Game 4 - No. 5 Connecticut 7, No. 4 USF 2

Thursday, May 24
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com)
Game 5 - Notre Dame 9, Rutgers 0 (Rutgers eliminated)
Game 6 - St. John's 6, Seton Hall 3
Game 7 - USF 12, Pittsburgh 5 (Pittsburgh eliminated)

Friday, May 25
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com)
Game 8 - Connecticut 4, Louisville 1
Game 9 - Notre Dame 4, Seton Hall 3 (Seton Hall eliminated)
Game 10 - USF 6, Louisville 2 (Louisville eliminated)

Saturday, May 26
(Live video on www.bigeastbaseball.com)
Game 11 - St. John's 2, Notre Dame 1 (Notre Dame eliminated)
Game 12 - USF 1, Connecticut 0
Game 14 - Connecticut (31-26-1) vs. USF (37-21), 6:30 p.m

Sunday, May 27 - Championship game
(live television on ESPNU)
Game 15 - St. John's (36-21) vs. USF or Connecticut, Noon

All times Eastern