The USF baseball team has a solid amount of depth on the mound, which should help them down the road during their WCC schedule. (Courtesy Stephanie Trapp/USF Athletics)

The USF baseball team has a solid amount of depth on the mound, which should help them down the road during their WCC schedule. (Courtesy Stephanie Trapp/USF Athletics)

Depth, adversity of last year bolsters USF pitching staff

Pitching depth is difficult to come by for baseball teams at any level.

At the collegiate level, that depth is especially difficult to find, and the teams that do have it tend to rise above the competition.

If Tuesday’s 7-1 win over Nevada is any indicator, the San Francisco Dons will be in solid shape. Six pitchers combined to allow just six hits and two walks to the Wolf Pack lineup while striking out nine.

“It’s confidence that’s helped us so far,” said pitching coach Matt Hiserman. “The work that they put in all fall, I think that’s where the confidence comes from.”

Some of that offseason work was much easier, as the Dons were able to practice at Benedetti Diamond, their home field. Last year, their stadium was being renovated, forcing the team to train at a variety of locations.

While the consistency has been helpful, Hiserman believes that the obstacles faced last offseason provided some valuable lessons.

“There’s no place that will make these guys uncomfortable,” he said. “They were forced to get their work in at places like city parks and soccer fields. Whether we’re at home or on the road, they’re comfortable getting in their routine.”

That flexibility has been critical so far for a San Francisco team that has made trips to Hawaii and Coastal Carolina.

The comfort on the road will need to continue this weekend as the Dons travel to Spokane to take on Gonzaga in what is expected to be a low-scoring series.

“It’s going to be cold, so I don’t think the ballpark will play small like it normally does,” said USF manager Nino Giarratano.

San Francisco lost two of three games in its conference-opening series to Loyola Marymount, while Gonzaga swept Pacific.

“We just weren’t efficient to the fastball against Loyola, so hopefully we can do that this weekend,” said Giarratano. “We had some good at-bats today.”

Perhaps the most impressive of the six San Francisco pitchers on Tuesday was freshman Riley Ornido. After two errors gave Nevada runners on second and third with no outs, Ornido struck out the next three batters to keep the Wolf Pack off the board.

“I just had to make pitches,” said Ornido, who was playing for St. Francis High School in Mountain View less than a year ago. His scoreless inning on Friday lowered his ERA for the season to 3.86.

On the offensive side, San Francisco (12-9) was lifted on Tuesday by two-hit performances from Matt Sinatro and Ross Puskarich. Puskarich drove in three runs, two of which came on his fourth-inning RBI single to stretch the lead to baseballCollege Sportsnevada wolf packsan francisco donsUniversity of San Francisco

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