Dons buzz off Hornets for first ‘home’ win 

The clouds broke long enough to let baseball be played on Sunday, and USF eagerly seized the opportunity to return to its winning ways.

Playing for the first time in five days because of rain cancellations, the Dons (3-2) pushed back Sacramento State 8-4, picking up season highs in hits (12) and runs to help snap a two-game losing streak in non-conference play.

Brian Chavez went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs, Luke Sommer picked up two hits and Dons starter Jason Dufloth pitched six innings of four-run ball to help USF pick up its first "home" win of the season.

Playing at College of San Mateo because of ongoing renovations at Benedetti Diamond, the Dons jumped all over the Hornets (0-5) in the third inning, picking up five runs to grab a 6-1 lead that they would hold for the rest of the contest.

With the score tied 1-1, Joey Railey started the third with a one-out triple, then Luke Sommer knocked him in with an RBI single intocenter field. After a Daniel Morales fielder’s choice, Jon Norfolk poked a single over second base to put runners on the corners with two outs.

Chavez, who had already picked up an RBI single in the first inning, came in and delivered a sharply hit liner to plate Morales and Norfolk, giving the Dons a 4-1 lead.

"I knew they were going to try and pitch away from me," said the third baseman. "It was a fastball low and away, and I was able to make good contact with the ball and drive it."

With Chavez on second, Mitchell Bialosky followed with a towering home run to right field, giving USF a 6-1 lead and capping off the third-inning onslaught.

Although never overpowering, Dufloth was effective enough on the mound, allowing nine hits over six innings, to go with three strikeouts. He got out of a jam in the top of the sixth by forcing Blake Crosby into an infield pop-up with runners on second and third and the score 6-4.

The Dons would tack on a run in both the sixth and seventh, and three USF relievers would combine to pitch three scoreless innings.

"I thought we played really well today," said Dons coach Nino Giarratano. "We really battled at the plate, got our bats going and I thought our pitching and defense was as good as it has been all year. We’ve got a big week coming up, so it was real important to come out here and get a win."

USF 8, Sacramento State 4.

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Will Reisman

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