USF baseball needs deep Big East Tournament run to make NCAAs - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

USF baseball needs deep Big East Tournament run to make NCAAs

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The USF baseball players need no reminder the program hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2002.

"Oh man, the coaches are always dwelling on it, and we're always thinking about it," said outfielder James Ramsay.

With a 35-20 record but an RPI of 63, the Bulls are on a familiar place: the NCAA Tournament bubble. To make the NCAAs, they might have to win the Big East Tournament this week at Bright House Stadium in Clearwater.

"We're playing for our lives," said outfielder Anthony Diaz.

"I think we have got to win some [Big East Tournament] games, but I don't think we have to win the tournament [to make the NCAAs]," said coach Lelo Prado.  "If we do, it makes life a lot easier for us."

Last year, USF's only option was winning the Big East Tournament to earn the automatic NCAA bid. The Bulls made it all the way to the conference tournament final but lost to St. John's. Still, they think that experience can help them this week.

"I think it does because a lot of those guys played last year," said Prado. "We've knocked the door open. We just haven't gone through it."

What helps the Bulls is their clutch play in close games. They're 11-5 in one-run games and 8-3 in extra-inning games. No team in the country has played more extra-inning games than USF.

"In that eighth and ninth inning, the other team may be getting tired. We're just getting going," said Diaz. "And we know it."

To reach their NCAA Tournament goal, they need to get it going this week.

"We want to take this program over the top and make it to a regional and break that barrier that's been haunting us," said Diaz.

"It's time for us to move forward and get to [an NCAA] Regional and be where we should be and play for a national championship," said Prado.

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