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Baseball: Sweeping Portland Aside

Mitchell Lobetos
Staff Writer

This past weekend USF (18-18, 11-4 WCC) took the diamond against their WCC foe, the Portland Pilots (7-31, 2-13 WCC). The Dons looked sharp this weekend as they took all three home games against the dismal Pilots. After Sunday’s 8-4 win, San Francisco extended their win streak to seven games. Through productive outs and heads-up base running the USF was able to get out to a 5-0 lead by the end of the fifth inning. In the sixth inning freshmen starting pitcher Sam Granoff ran into a bit of trouble after giving up a homerun and two more runs, one of which was unearned. Granoff got out of the sixth and lasted one more inning before bringing out senior relief pitcher Sheldon Lee. Lee faced three batters but was unable to retire any of them; after giving up two hits and a walk the Pilots tacked on another run. The score read 6-3 Dons. Senior relief pitcher Logan West took the hill next and worked two perfect frames to record a two-inning save, his fourth save of the season. West’s effort as well as sophomore shortstop Nico Giarratano’s RBI triples in the sixth and eighth inning Saturday’s game was a pitcher’s duel. Portland starting pitcher Kurt Yinger went into the game with a 1-5 record but pitched like an ace. With a final line of 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 5 SO, and 0 BB it wouldn’t be farfetched to assume the Pilots won the game but senior starting pitcher Christian Cecilio had other plans. Cecilio pitched a six-hit complete-game shutout with an efficient 116 pitches. After nine innings of shutout ball, Cecilio only gave up six hits and one walk while tossing 11 strikeouts. The six-foot two-inch lefty now holds a 4- 1 record after nine starts, a microscopic 1.77 ERA and a jaw-dropping conference ERA of 0.82 on the season. A homerun by the Dons leadoff man, senior right-fielder Connor Hoffman, was all the offense they needed to earn the win. The first game of the three-game was filled with drama and gray-hair inducing plays for both teams. Portland struck first by taking a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning. USF clean up hitter, senior center-fielder Derek Atkinson, responded with a two-run homerun in the bottom of the first inning putting the Dons on top 2-1. With smart base-running USF worked a 6-1 lead by the end of the sixth inning. With the help of two singles, a double, a triple and a sacrifice fly, the Pilots pounced on junior starting pitcher Anthony Shew for four runs, bringing the score to 6-5. The Pilots and Dons each scored one more run and the final score was 7-6 in the Dons favor. With the confidence of this sweep, USF heads to San Diego this weekend for a three- game set against the Torrero’s (21-13, 12-3 WCC). This is a chance for the Dons to claim the top spot in the WCC against the current top seed.

Photo Credits: Dons Athletics

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