May 18, 2008
Baseball Takes Tampa To Brink Before Season Ends With 9-8 Loss
TAMPA, FL -- Catawba gave third-ranked and top-seeded Tampa all it wanted, but the Spartans rallied late to take a 9-8 win and claim the 2008 NCAA II South Region Baseball Championship on Sunday afternoon at the UT Baseball Field. The Spartans, now 42-9-1, will advance to the College World Series which begins next weekend in Sauget, IL. The 17th-ranked Catawba Indians end their season at 43-18.
Catawba looked position to force a second game as the Indians rolled to a 5-0 lead after an inning and a half. Jerry Sands (Clayton, NC/Smithfield-Selma HS) and Craige Lyerly (Salisbury, NC/E. Rowan HS) drove in runs on ground outs in the first and David Thomas (Winston-Salem, NC/Ledford HS) delivered a two-run single in the second to push the edge to 4-0.
The hit by Thomas was his second of the day which broke his own school mark with his 101st of the year. Chad Baker (Jamestown, NC/Ragsdale HS) added a sacrifice fly for the five-run edge.
Tampa scored an unearned run in the second and got a solo home run from Jose Jimenez in the third to trim the deficit to 5-2. A Matt Kepley (Greensboro, NC/Ragsdale HS) sacrifice fly added a run for Catawba before the Spartans closed to within 6-4 in the fourth on a single by Paul Cruz and a fielder’s choice by Jesus Barroso.
The Indians struck back in the sixth as Lyerly and Brett Hatley (Salisbury, NC/W. Rowan HS) delivered RBI singles to stake Catawba to an 8-4 lead after five. Tampa scored three times in the seventh to get within a run. Cruz doubled home a run and Barroso hit a two-run homer to cut the gap to 8-7.
An error to leadoff the Tampa eighth put the tying run on base and Jimenez doubled. After an intentional walk, Steven Broschofsky hit a grounder to short and just beat the relay to first to plate the tying run. Brett McKean followed with a ground ball to second which the Indians only got one out on that forced home the go-ahead run.
Baker led off the Tribe ninth with a single and moved to second on a grounder by Sands, but Anthony Perez retired the final two batters to end the game and record his 17th save. It marked the third straight regional title for the Spartans.
For the second straight time, Catawba out-hit Tampa, but failed to score the most runs. Kepley led the way with three hits in his final game and added a RBI. Thomas, Baker, Sands and Ryan Query (Kannapolis, NC/Brown HS) all had two hits.
The Spartans got two hits each from Cruz, Jimenez and Leo Alvarez. Barroso collected three RBI and was the region tournament MVP. Both Tampa and Catawba placed five on the team with Carson-Newman having one selection.
2008 NCAA II South Region All-Tournament Team
C – Leo Alvarez, Tampa
1B – Jose Jimenez, Tampa
2B – Jesus Barroso, Tampa
3B – Craige Lyerly, CATAWBA
SS – Chris Ahearn, CATWABA
OF – David Thomas, CATAWBA
OF – Ryan Williams, Tampa
OF – Tyler Wynn, Carson-Newman
DH – Nolan Brannon, Tampa
P – Alex Fairweather, CATAWBA
P – Tim Holmes, CATAWBA
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