USF grabbed an early lead with two runs in the second.
Freshman Zac Gilcrease opened the frame with a double to left off Irish starter Adam Norton. One out later Kyle Teaf rolled a ball toward short that was misplayed by Jason McMurray, who had to contend with the runner Gilcrease crossing in front of the grounder. The play was initially ruled an error on McMurray, but was later changed to a hit.
Luis Llerena attempted to lay down a safety squeeze, but bunted back to the pitcher Norton, allowing just the trail runner Teaf to move up to second. Alex Mendez followed with a clutch two-RBI single to put USF up 2-0.
The Bulls again put runners at the corners with one down in the fourth, and Teaf laid down a perfect bunt single that allowed Jimmy Falla to cross with the Bulls' third run.
Joey Lovecchio (6-0) cruised through the first four, needing just 30 pitches and holding Notre Dame scoreless.
Notre Dame put the first two men on in the fifth, and Alex Robinson laid down the sacrifice to move them over to second and third. Charlie Markson hit a groundout to third, but that allowed a run to score and cut the Bulls' lead to 3-1.
USF was quick to answer. With two down Daniel Rockhold launched his second homer in as many days, a no-doubter well over the wall in left for his team-leading fourth homerun of the season.
The Fighting Irish were not done just yet. With one down in the sixth Llerena threw away a routine grounder and Notre Dame made him pay, as Eric Jagielo blasted a two-two offering from Lovecchio that cleared the wall over the 400 foot sign in center.
Trey Mancini quickly followed with a double to left, and Joe Hudson singled through the left side to tie the game up at four apiece.
The Bulls retook the lead with two in the sixth on RBI singles by Llerena and Chad Taylor, and broke things open with five runs in the seventh.
Rockhold got the rally going by drawing a four-pitch walk, and Falla followed with a double to left-center to plate Rockhold. Gilcrease laid down a bunt single, and Andrew Longley was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
After a force at home on a Teaf grounder, Llerena lifted a double to the gap in left-center to push across two more. A wild pitch and a Mendez sac fly gave the Bulls an 11-4 advantage.
Lovecchio finished having allowed four runs - two earned - on eight hits in his 6.2 innings of work.
Offensively, Mendez and Llerena each had three RBI as Mendez extended his team-leading total to 21. Five players posted a multi-hit game, as Taylor led the way with a three-for-five performance.
USF (19-9, 4-1) and Notre Dame (16-9, 4-1) will face off in the rubber game on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Bulls will send red-shirt senior Derrick Stultz (3-1) to the hill against sophomore Sean Fitzgerald (2-2).