The USF Dons finished their road trip in Albuquerque with two close losses and a 7-6 win over Utah Valley to give them their first win of the season. Eight of USF’s ten losses have come from a one or two run deficit; however, on Sunday USF was able to secure their first win in the Lobo Classic.
The Dons started off the tournament against Utah Valley with a loss of 3-1. Despite throwing a complete game and only allowing three runs, junior starting pitcher Anthony Shew (0-2) was handed his second loss of the season.
“We haven’t gotten the big hit or gotten the big pitch to get where we wanted to be,” Head Coach Nino Giarratano said. “We’re just not getting good production out of the offense.”
The offensive struggle continued in the second game against New Mexico, with a loss of 4-3. The only offensive production for USF came off the bat of first baseman Brendan Hendricks’ three run home run. This was enough to give USF the lead going into the ninth, but the Dons were unable to secure a victory. After a great pitching performance by Christian Cecilio, coach Giarratano replaced the lefty with Senior Matt Narahara. Narahara shut down the Lobos offense in the eighth, but could not obtain the six out save. New Mexico executed their small ball in the ninth by moving the leadoff double to third on a sacrifice bunt and scoring him on a fielders choice. USF then loaded the bases intentionally to get the force out at the plate. New Mexico’s Dan Collier hit a sharp ground ball to junior second baseman Michael Eaton who fielded it and fired home, but it was too late and the Dons were sent home with a disappointing 4-3 loss.
In the final game of the road trip, USF’s Brock Larson (1-1) earned his first win of the season by throwing 3.1 innings of relief and only allowing one runner on base. In the eighth inning, USF rallied behind Eaton who ripped a double down the left field line scoring two. Catcher Ryan Matranga then belted a two run shot to left field to give the Dons a 7-1 lead. USF’s four-run eighth would prove vital as Utah Valley rallied to score five times in the ninth in their 7-6 loss to the Dons.
“It was big to get a win,” USF head coach Nino Giarratano said. “We’ve got to take them one game at a time. It was good to take the pressure off of us.”
Come out to the field at 2pm on Friday as the San Francisco Dons kick off a three game series against UC Riverside at Benedetti Diamond for the home opener.
Photo credits: Dons Athletics