The signs of summer are upon us. Daily thunderstorms, lack of college sports, and reduced blog participation. The Dog Days come early in the collegiate sports blog world. They will end soon enough, though, because before you know it, the talk of the day will turn to camps and depth charts.
It has been nearly two weeks since the Florida Gators beat the USF baseball team with a 5-1 win that took 12 innings. The teams were tied at 1 apiece until the Bulls fell apart in the 12th. Bethune-Cookman put the nail in the coffin for USF, beating them 6-3 for their second loss of the Gainesville Regional. The season ended hard for the Bulls, but it was a great one overall. Their 42 wins is the most since 1996 and it was a season that featured a program record breaking 19 game win streak.
The Bulls look to build on their baseball success. Third year head coach, Mark Kingston, was reported to have interviewed with Virginia Tech and Alabama in regards to their coaching vacancies. Instead, Kingston is staying at USF with an increase in pay, which has not been disclosed, yet. He is currently earning $140,000 per year.
USF junior shortstop, Kevin Merrell was drafted 33rd overall in the MLB Draft by the Oakland A’s. Merrell finished the season with a .384 batting average, best in the American Athletic Conference. He was named the D1Baseball Third Team All-American on Thursday. Merrell is just USF Baseball’s 10th All-American, earning honors from Perfect Game / Rawlings’ third team and Baseball America’s second team.
Perfect Game / Rawlings has honored another Bull along with Merrell. Redshirt freshman pitcher, Shane McClanahan, was named first-team Freshman All-American. McClanahan, who was 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA, was ranked eighth nationally for strikeouts per nine innings with 12.32. The National Baseball Writers Association gave him the same recognition on their Freshman All-American first team. The last time a USF player earned Freshman All-American Honors, it was 2015 and the player was Kevin Merrell.
The hometown Tampa Bay Rays drafted Bulls’ pitcher, Phoenix Sanders, in the tenth round of the MLB draft. Sanders will earn a pay around $136,000.
The under reconstruction USF men’s basketball team has been given their schedule pairings for next season. They will play home and away games against Tulsa, SMU, UCF, Houston, Memphis, and ECU. USF will visit incoming basketball-only member, Wichita State.
A different Bulls basketball team will suit up on July 8th. Naming themselves the Tampa Bulls, 10 former USF basketball players will play as a team in The Basketball Tournament featured by ESPN networks. The tournament features 64 teams in a winner take all format for a $2 million pot. The players for the Tampa Bulls will be paid $135,000 apiece. If the team wins the tournament, Dominque Jones and William McDonald will receive a $200,000 bonus.
Former Rice wide receiver, Temi Alaka, is transferring to USF. He is a graduate transfer who is eligible to play in the 2017 season, his final year of eligiblity. Alaka led his former teams in receiving yards last season, with 458.