USF Baseball has been playing well lately. Ever since I posted that article complaining about the ineptitude of the team, they've gotten much better fundamentally. Errors are relatively down. Hits are up. And wins are up. It's good to see the team making a turn for the better at the beginning of conference play. This weekend, the Bulls hosted Georgetown for a three-game Big East opener and dominated the series. Pitching was great, and the hitting was better than it's been all season. It's been a good weekend.
But I'm not backing off what I said a few weeks ago. I'm still not convinced that this is a good team. Georgetown is not a good baseball team. You're supposed to sweep them. The fact still remains that we've been pounded by UCF twice and we fail to show up for games that could get us a little respect. I still believe that the defense needs to improve. We've still had errors in too many games this year. Hitting has been solid lately, but it needs to stay consistent if we're going to have a chance at the postseason. This past weekend, we saw something from the Bulls that we've been dying to see all year: Manufacturing runs. A majority of the runs scored this series have been a result of collecting a couple hits in a row. But these guys are still the kings of runners left on base. We won 7-2 today, and I know this sounds strange, but we only scored seven runs. USF loaded the bases on four occasions, but never scored more than two runs in a given inning. Good baseball teams get singles in those situations. In the final stat line, USF left 13 runners on. The guy who is going to carry this offense in C Andrew Longley. In every game I've seen, Longley has always had the best at-bats. Even when he falls behind in the count, Longley fouls away a handful of pitches to work his way back and level the count. You'd be hard pressed to find a better batter on this team. We don't even need everyone to hit like him, but if we could get our guys to sit on pitches and make the pitcher toss him something different, we'd have a much better lineup.
Don't take this the wrong way, though. I am very pleased with the improvement I've seen in this team. I'd rather be leaving guys on base than not getting on base at all. And pitching has been great. Matt Reed, Joe Lovecchio, and Andrew Barbosa each pitched awesome games. Barbosa was unstoppable, striking out 13 batters. Lovecchio only gave up one earned run in 7.2 innings. Reed made some mistakes, but he made them at very opportune times. He have up a hit here and there, and even a home run, but it was all in non-threatening situations. I am still not absolutely turned around by this series, but I am now just a little bit more optimistic about the rest of the season.