USF hoping to use Benedetti Classic as a spark for rest of season 

The USF baseball team is off to a rough start to its season, posting a 9-9 record and getting swept in its first West Coast Conference three-game series. The Dons will look to reverse those fortunes this weekend with BYU coming to town for a three-game homestand that includes a game at AT&T Park on Saturday.

This will be the ninth year the Dante Benedetti Classic, which honors the former USF coach and helps youth baseball programs, has brought the Dons to the home of the Giants for a game and coach Nino Giarratano said he hopes this will get them back on track.

“Last year was probably the first time we hadn’t played really well there at AT&T,” he said. “We lost 6-1 to Portland and we just didn’t play very well. But [in] years past, the other eight years, we’ve played really well in that ballpark and we’ve had good focus.”

USF took a step toward bouncing back from last weekend’s three-game sweep by visiting Gonzaga by beating San Jose State 7-2 on Tuesday. Giarratano said the different venue for Saturday’s game against the Cougars doesn’t change what they need to do.

“Obviously we’re not off to a very good start,” he said. “But we’re going to have to play the games, no matter where we play them, and we’re going to have to play well. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing at home or on the road or even at AT&T, we’re going to have to focus in and make plays and make pitches. Hopefully, we can start doing that. ... We usually really use this as a catapult into our season.”

The Dons play at 3 p.m. today and Friday at Benedetti Diamond before moving to AT&T Park for a noon game on Saturday.



WHEN: Saturday, noon


INFO: and

NOTE: USF also plays BYU on Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m. at Benedetti Diamond

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