FROM PRESS RELEASE
TAMPA, Fla. – The official start date for fall practices isn’t until October, but the University of South Florida baseball team opened season No. 2 under head coach Lelo Prado on Sept. 4, beginning fall 4-on-1 workouts with the coaching staff.
During the sessions, four players at a time are allowed to practice on the field with a coach.
“Our 4-on-1s have been outstanding defensively, offensively and pitching-wise,” said assistant coach Lazer Collazo. “These kids want to work. These kids are coming in on their own, getting here early in the afternoon and leaving late in the evening. They want to learn the system quickly, and as coaches, we are seeing that they want to grasp everything they can as early as they can.
The Bulls, who were 34-26 overall and 23-15 in the BIG EAST last season, are a mixed team of 11 returning players and 29 newcomers, including 16 freshmen.
“Everyone knows we have a young team,” said Collazo. “It is a team that has to gel little-by-little and get the chemistry going. We especially need to gel now in the fall because the quicker we can blend a young team like this, the better it is going to be for us on opening day in the spring.”
USF returns Third Team BIG EAST second baseman Dexter Butler and 2006 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year third baseman Addison Maruszak. The pitching staff looks forward to the return of junior right handed pitcher Daniel Thomas, who took a red-shirt year last season. Sophomores Shawn Sanford (3.10 ERA, 11 saves) and Matt Quevedo (4-3, 4.01 ERA) also return to the mound for the Bulls this year.
The Bulls welcome four newcomers who were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, three in 2007 and one in 2006. Left handed pitcher Stephen Hunt (Tampa, Fla./Jesuit HS) was selected by Oakland in the 17th round and the Red Sox picked LHP Juan Carlin (Riverview, Fla./Riverview HS) in the 29th round. The Red Sox also selected right hander Derrick Stultz (Tampa, Fla./Wharton). In 2006 Brian Hobbs (Marietta, Fla./Chipola JC) was selected by the Angels in the 41st round.
The Bulls begin official fall full-team practice on Oct. 8.
Thanks to USF Media Relations for the press release and photo.