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USF attracts Bulls-eye
Christina De Nicola
are high for a young team whose program has never made it to a
Super Regional, never mind Omaha.
Third-year head coach Lelo Prado (left) and the University of
South Florida Bulls recently were picked to finish second in the
Big East Conference after going 31-27 last season.
Sophomore centerfielder Ryan Lockwood (.415, 12 2B, 12-16 SB),
who earned the honor of Freshman Player of the Year by
Collegiate Baseball, leads a squad returning seven starting
a competitor; he knows how to play the game,” Prado said. “He
plays it the right way, and we expect a big year out of him.”
5-10 Tampa, Fla. native ended last year on a 30-game hitting
streak and looks to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump despite
added pressure and expectations.
improved my arm strength a lot during the offseason and how to
hit the inside pitch a little bit better,” Lockwood (right)
said. “Obviously I’m not the biggest dude on the team. I’m never
going to be a power hitter, so I hit for average, the other way,
bunt and steal. I just do the classic little-guy stuff.”
All-Conference players are gone offensively in shortstop Addison
Maruszak (.364, 12 2B) and outfielder Joey Angelberger (.323, 11
hitting just 40 homers as a team last season, USF lost half of
that production with the departure of Angelberger and outfielder
Brian Hobbs (9 HR).
could do with a couple of big bombers,” Prado said. “That’s not
what we’re about yet. We have to play some small ball. Pitching
and defense is going to get us to the next level, not the long
middle infielders – freshman shortstop Sam Mende and junior
transfer second baseman Peter Brotons – will see their first
starting action together.
expect a lot of big things out of him [Mende],” Prado said.
“He’s a freshman, and he’ll go through some growing pains, but I
think that you’re going to see a guy who can really play.
Although USF lost two hurlers, the team’s strength lies in its
pitching staff, which returns two of its weekend starters in
sophomore right-handers Randy Fontanez (5-3, 3.54) and Derrick
Stultz (4-3, 3.08).
experienced bullpen returns sophomore Stephen Hunt, a Freshman
All-American who earned a pair of saves and posted the
third-best batting average (.331) and slugging percentage (.500)
on the team as a designated hitter.
right-handers Matt Quevedo (0-1, 4.63) and former closer and now
setup man, Shawn Sanford (5-5, 5.21, 11 saves), will also add
“[Sanford’s] a player who can play a huge role for us if he
bounces back like he did his freshman year,” Prado said.
right-hander Andrew Salgueiro (left) will close out games for
the Bulls after transferring from Louisville, the team predicted
to win the Big East.
“Andrew is another piece to the puzzle,” said Prado, who coached
Salgueiro at UL. “We expect more than pitching out of him. We
expect a lot of leadership.”
Salgueiro’s experience in the College
World Series in 2007 with the Cardinals already has had an
impact on his teammates
pitching staff is still kind of young, and it’s good when they
ask questions and look up to me in that sense because they’ve
never been there,” he said.
as a strikeout pitcher, the 6-0 Miami native’s top pitch is his
fastball. He uses a hard slider as an out pitch and throws a
changeup “every once in awhile.”
definitely been trying to establish from the stretch my
delivery,” Salgueiro said.
and his coaching staff, which includes volunteer coach and
former major leaguer Tino Martinez, take an aggressive approach.
Prado is hard on us a little bit, but that’s part of the game,”
Lockwood (right) said. “He’s trying to make you better in that
way, and you try to execute on the field the best you can. We
have great chemistry so far. Even our coaches have told us it’s
the best they’ve seen since they’ve been here.”
conference teams such as Notre Dame and Rutgers chosen to finish
behind the Bulls, some players miss the anonymity that came with
program hasn’t done much in baseball, and a lot of people don’t
know much about us,” Salgueiro said. “We’ll take an underdog
approach. I like it that way better, fly under the radar and
plans for a new stadium come into fruition and a Top-40
recruiting class takes the field, USF continues to develop its
like to be at places that never have accomplished some things,”
Prado said. “That’s what I want this program to do. Be a
contender, year in and year out, and have a chance to go to
(photos courtesy of USF Media Relations