TAMPA — The University of South Florida baseball team finished the regular season with a losing record of 24-26. Now they're re-writing their record books.
The Bulls won the AAC Championship, the Gainesville Regional of the NCAA Tournament. and now they're heading to the Super Regionals for the first time in school history. The Bulls have won 9 of their last 11 games, and head coach Billy Mohl says it's because they aren't rushing the process.
"If you want a good meal, you can’t throw it in the microwave," Mohl said after Wednesday's practice. If you want to eat a good lasagna, it takes a little bit of time to put it together right so it tastes good. And it just took some time for these guys."
First baseman Riley Hogan is a big fan of the lasagna analogy.
"My mom makes a really good lasagna, so I had it a lot growing up," Hogan said with a huge smile. He hit .500 in the regional, and the redshirt junior's been the leader for a young Bulls roster.
"It takes time to develop, including college kids who haven’t necessarily played against college pitching. They gotta develop. They gotta get better," Hogan said. "Look what happens when things start clicking."
But the stakes are going up in a big way for the Bulls. Unranked USF faces #2 overall seed Texas this weekend, but the Bulls aren't worried about being the underdog...again.
"We won the conference tournament. We won the regional. We’re just here to show what else we can do," pitcher Orion Kerkering said. "You never know when your time's going to come up. You never know when your number’s going to be called. When you number comes up, just be there. Help your brother out."
Mohl says they aren't going to change anything they've done that's gotten them to this point.
"If you just play your brand of baseball, you’ve got a chance to win."
First pitch for game one in the best-of-three series is scheduled for Friday night at 9 P.M. on ESPNU. Game two is set for Sunday at 9 P.M., and that will air on either ESPNU or ESPN 2. Game three, if necessary, is scheduled for Monday. First pitch will be at either 4 P.M. or 7 P.M., with the game airing on either ESPNU or ESPN 2.