May 30, 2015
Baseball's Bid For National Title Comes Up Short Against Tampa
CARY, N.C. -- The University of Tampa claimed its eighth national championship, defeating Catawba 3-1 on Saturday at the 2015 NCAA II Baseball National Finals at the USA National Training Complex’s Coleman Field. The top-ranked Spartans finish the year at 43-13, while the second-ranked Catawba Indians complete their campaign at 47-15 after playing in its first-ever title game.
The tournament's Most Outstanding Player, Michael Calkins, quieted the Catawba offense most of the day en route to a complete game four-hitter. He allowed just one run with a walk and four strikeouts as he improved to 6-4 on the season.
Catawba would score first, taking a 1-0 lead in the third. Luke Setzer (Salisbury, N.C./E. Rowan HS) singled with one out and with two outs, Dylan Richardson (Randleman, N.C./Randleman HS/Appalachian St.) hit a sinking liner to left that Brett Jones tried to make shoestring catch on. When he failed to make the catch the ball bounced past Jones and allowed Setzer, who was running on the pitch, to score easily from first.
Calkins would walk Will Albertson (Sophia, N.C./Randleman HS/Campbell) intentionally before ending the inning with a strikeout. The junior was near perfect after that inning as Tampa rallied for the win.
In the fourth, Nick Tindall came up with the game's big hit. With two outs and a pair of runners on, Tindall sliced a liner down the right field line for a triple that plated both runs and put the Spartans ahead to stay.
Calkins did the rest as he allowed Catawba just one base runner after the third inning. He retired 19 of the final 20 men he faced. The only Indian to reach base was Albertson, who secured the NCAA II batting title with a single in the sixth. He finished the year with a .467 average.
The Spartans added an insurance run in the seventh. Casey Scroggins delivered a two-out single to score Jones.
Sean Grant (Statesville, N.C./W. Iredell HS) produced his third quality start of the post-season for Catawba, but took the loss and fell to 2-2. He went six and a third innings and allowed three runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout.
Tampa had eight hits in the contest with Stephen Dezzi singling twice for the Spartans. Richardson had two of Catawba's four hits and earned all-tournament honors at the finals. Craig Brooks (Monroe, N.C./Parkwood HS) also represented Catawba on the all-tournament team.
2015 National Finals All-Tournament Team
Nick Tindall, Tampa
Mike Philp, Cal Poly Pomona
Hunter Mayall, Henderson State
Craig Brooks, Catawba
Dylan Richardson, Catawba
Giovanny Alfonzo, Tampa
Kyle Garlick, Cal Poly Pomona
Stephen Dezzi, Tampa
Casey Scoggins, Tampa
Michael Calkins, Tampa
Chase Sparkman, Tampa
Most Outstanding Player: Michael Calkins, Tampa
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