Like a weary family who had been trapped in an airport following a monthlong vacation, the USF baseball team was happy to be at home Thursday.
The Dons, forced to host their first three home games elsewhere and shift a home series to the road due to construction at Benedetti Diamond, pounded out 18 hits in beating Southern Utah 12-5. USF was placing netting around the field to prevent balls from bothering neighbors.
USF (12-13) led 4-2 when it broke things open with a seven-run fourth inning. Junior Luke Sommer hit a two-run homer and freshman Bobby Ethel, who tripled in the second for his first career extra-base hit, capped the inning with a two-run shot of his own.
Blake Nelson went 3-for-4 and scored twice, Mitchell Bialosky went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, Brian Chavez and Ethel also had two hits for the Dons.
Junior right-hander Jason Dufloth (4-3) allowed three runs in six innings to earn the win. He walked two and struck out five.
The Dons and Thunderbirds will continue their three-game series today at 1 p.m. and finish it Saturday at 1 p.m.
USF 12, Southern Utah 5