Published in The Crow’s Nest February 2015
Following the clink from his bat, Dominick DiPasquale’s teammates lined up to slap fives after he rounded the bases and returned to home plate.
In what was the first of two games on their spring-season opening day, the USF St. Petersburg baseball club defeated Florida State University 3-2 Saturday afternoon, thanks to DiPasquale’s home-run blast in the fourth inning.
“It felt great,” DiPasquale said. “It just came off the bat and I knew it was gone.”
Although he reached first base on his next at bat, DiPasquale’s home run was the most significant hit of the day, just in front of senior Jody Odom Jr.’s base-clearing hit in the third inning.
Cully Wilson and Jeremy Berger each reached first base safely and had a stolen base, which put the base runners in scoring position prior to Odom’s go-ahead hit.
“I think we just got a pretty good team this year,” Odom said. “We feed off each other, so if one guy gets on base we’re just gonna keep stringing them together.”
Jordan Rubin, the team’s usual catcher, switched to pitcher for Game 1 to give the lineup more flexibility. He pitched 4.2 innings, allowing just one run. Rubin was replaced behind home plate by Justin hand, who had never played catcher before.
It was Rubin’s first game back after returning from a torn ACL suffered during the fall season.
Odom relieved Rubin in the fifth inning. Allowing only two hits for the rest of the game, Odom helped the Bulls close out the game with a victory.
“We came back, we persevered,” Berger said. “Jody Odom, lights out as always.”
Because their roster is depleted compared to the prior season, the team made pitching changes prior to the first game due to having to play three games in two days.
In Game 2, senior pitcher Jason Smith was the first of three to pitch for the Bulls as they lost 3-1, failing to carry the momentum late into the day.
Rubin returned as catcher, allowing Hand to have a productive role as a hitter and relief pitcher.
Hand reached base safely in three of his four plate appearances, after going 0-for-3 in the prior game.
After taking Smith out of the game, FSU put a string of hits together against pitcher Zack Mellin in the fourth and fifth inning, accompanied by a few fielding errors from the Bulls.
The Bulls recorded eight hits, but failed to capitalize with runners in scoring position.
“The FSU team is one of the best teams we’ve played,” Berger said. “So, I’m proud of everyone.”