May 21, 2006
Baseball sees record-breaking season end in loss to #1 TampaTampa, FL -– The University of Tampa, the top-ranked team in NCAA II, advanced to the World Series with a 15-5 win over #4 Catawba on Sunday afternoon at the 2006 South Region Tournament.
The Spartans improve to 50-6 on the year, while Catawba has its record-breaking season end at 47-14.Catawba grabbed the early lead, taking advantage of a pair of Tampa errors in the bottom of the second. Mark Smith started the inning off by reaching on an error, while Nick Lefko reached on a one-out error. After a fly out, Chad Baker drew a walk and Dave Thomas followed with a bases-clearing double. Matt Smith singled to center scoring Thomas four the fourth run of the frame, all unearned.
Tampa threatened in the opening inning as Ryan Kennedy led the game off with a single and moved to second a pitch later as Craig Corrado laid down a sacrifice bunt. Orlando Rosales then singled to right and Kennedy moved to third, but after a flyout, Tribe starter Paul Link picked Rosales off first to end the frame. Corrado put Tampa on the board with a leadoff homer in the fourth with Lee Cruz adding a solo shot an out later to cut the lead in half. The Spartans would then benefit from a Tribe error to plate five more unearned runs, four coming on a two-out grand slam by Troy Ferguson. The Indians tried to respond by starting the their fourth with a pair of hits, but Thomas rapped into a double play, one of five turned by the Spartans to end the threat. Tampa added three more runs in the fifth with Corrado singling in two as the Spartans went up 10-4. Tampa added five in the ninth to break the game open.
Catawba added a final run in the ninth as Thomas collected his record-breaking 100th hit of the season to drive in Baker. Aaron Cook came in relief of Williams in the fourth to earn the win. He tossed five innings, giving up no runs and striking out five. Craig Benner pitched the ninth, closing the game. Tampa’s Lee Cruz was honored as the 2006 NCAA South Regional MVP while the all-tournament team consisted of catcher Matt Smith (Catawba), first baseman Jose Jimenez (Tampa), second baseman Casey Coleman (Florida Gulf Coast), third baseman Billy Wimberly (Tampa), shortstop Roberto Mena (Tampa), outfielders Jerry Sands (Catawba), Troy Ferguson (Tampa) and Craig Corrado (Tampa), designated hitter Lee Cruz (Tampa) and pitchers Blake Ketner (Catawba) and Aaron Cook (Tampa). #####
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