LAKELAND, Fla. - Two of the top NCAA Division II teams battled it out on the diamond but only one could come out on top as #4 Florida Southern (22-3, 1-0) downed #3 Tampa (21-5, 2-2) with a score of 4-2.
Ryan Kennedy came up with one out in the first and delivered an opposite field stand-up double. Jose Jimenez was next to the plate and drove Kennedy in with a single through the right side, giving Ross Jackson a run to work with.
Bryan Brown led off the bottom of the first with a hard single through the right side. After Robbie Shields flied out to right, Jackson induced an inning ending double play off the bat of Fred Popp, started by Kennedy at second.
Tampa wasn't able to capitalize on a Nolan Brannon double in the top of the second but in the bottom half of the inning saw another Spartan double play as Tampa held their 1-0 lead.
The third and fourth innings were quiet as Dan Albritton of Florida Southern and Jackson kept the opposing team's offenses at bay.
The Spartans loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, and managed to get a run across the plate on Craig Corrado's sacrifice fly to center, giving Tampa a 2-0 lead.
The Moccasins took the lead in their half of the fifth with a three run homerun by Derek Lokey, scoring Brian Schultz and Tristan Rainone. Later in the frame, Kyle Patrick drove in Shields with a bloop single to center, giving the Mocs a 4-2 lead after five.
Neither team could score over the last three and half innings as Florida Southern held on for the 4-2 win.
Albritton tossed a complete game and improved to 6-0, while Jackson (4-2) took the loss after pitching eight solid innings.
The same two teams meet again with a 1:00 pm double header scheduled for 1:00 pm.