TAMPA, Fla. - USF baseball faces its toughest task this weekend in the program's first-ever NCAA Super Regional.
"It's Texas," head coach Billy Mohl said when asked about the scouting report. "It's a premier program in the country. They can really pitch. They've got a dynamic offense, and it's going to be a good challenge for our kids."
The chance to face an opponent like that on a stage is quite the opportunity for a team picked to finish last in their conference. The 2021 Bulls have come a long way. With freshmen and sophomores all up and down the lineup, they took some time to develop.
"If you want a good meal, you can't throw it in the microwave," Mohl said. "If you want to eat a good lasagna it takes a little bit of time to put it together right for it to taste good, and it just took some time for these guys."
A major turning point was in mid-May. USF had just split a four-game series at Wichita State that they felt they should have won. On the team bus back to the airport Riley Hogan, one of the few upperclassmen, stood up and gave a speech that changed everything.
"It was more from the heart. It felt good to be around a bunch of guys that you love playing with," Hogan said of his speech that he prefers to keep in house. "Not every team is like that. Nothing has felt like what this team has had where we bond inside the game, and outside the game. We all love each other."
Whatever Hogan said propelled USF baseball to unprecedented heights. That also means an unprecedented opponent, but the solution is quite simple: Just play the game.
"A big thing we say is where your feet are," Hogan added. "At the end of the day they're just putting on a jersey. We're putting on a jersey. It's baseball. We've done it our whole life."