The Bulls (33-18, 16-18) once again benefited from solid starting pitching, as Matt Reed got the nod to move into the weekend rotation and did not disappoint. Reed (4-3) tossed seven strong innings, allowing three runs on six hits.
Things came apart for the Huskies early on.
Alex Mendez led off the first inning with a single, and with one out James Ramsay singled to left, but left fielder Eric Yavarone misplayed the ball for an error, allowing the runners to move up to second and third.
Daniel Rockhold followed with a grounder to second that LJ Mazzilli could not handle, as Mazzilli was charged with his third error in the past two games. That allowed Mendez to come in and score the Bulls' first run.
Todd Brazeal singled in Ramsay, then Blake Sydeski lifted a routine fly ball to the right fielder Ryan Moore. Moore easily made the catch, and fired to third in attempt to hold the baserunners at first and second. Instead, Moore's throw skipped past third baseman Ryan Fuller allowing both runners to move up.
A passed ball plated Rockhold, and after a walk to Kyle Teaf and a RBI single from Anthony Diaz made it 4-0, Zac Gilcrease hit a grounder to third that Fuller failed to handle, allowing a fifth run to cross for USF.
All told, UConn committed four errors in the first inning, and USF plated five runs - only one of which was earned - against Huskies' starter Brian Ward (3-4).
The Huskies attempted to bounce back from that early deficit, chipping away with two runs off Reed in the second. Tom Verdi led off by blasting his fourth homerun of the year, and after an out and a walk Alex DeBellis lined a double past Brazeal at first that cut the Bulls' lead to three.
The Bulls continued their offensive surge in the home half. Luis Llerena, Ramsay, and Rockhold strung together three straight singles to open the frame, making it 6-2 USF and ending the day early for Ward. Carson Cross entered in relief and inherited a pair of baserunners, and both would also come in to score on a RBI single from Todd Brazeal and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Teaf.
With Louisville taking down first-place St. Johns 6-4 on Sunday, both USF and Louisville remain tied for second but close to within one game of the Redstorm for the conference lead.
The Bulls finished their home schedule with a 22-13 record at the USF Baseball Stadium. They have four games remaining in the regular season, with one non-conference game at the University of North Florida on Tuesday, and a three-game set at West Virginia starting Friday at 7:05. USF has also clinched a spot in the Big East tournament, which begins May 23 at Bright House Field in Clearwater.