MELBOURNE, Fla. - After dropping three of four games a week ago, the #7 Tampa Spartans (34-9, 12-4) scored in each of the last three innings to defeat the 25th ranked Florida Tech Panthers (27-17, 11-8) 5-1 in the first of three Sunshine State Conference games.
The Panthers were the first to score in the bottom of the fourth inning in the windy afternoon game. Brendan Twomey drove in Michael Demma with a high bouncing single up the middle, that found its way over the pitcher and under the diving glove of Ryan Kennedy at second. The run was the first that Tampa pitcher Kevin Ferguson had allowed in his last 23 innings, a span that covered three straight starts.
Florida Tech starter Jake Koch was let down by his defense in the top of the seventh as consecutive errors by Eric Trillas gave Tampa the lead as two runs came across the plate. Troy Ferguson led off the inning with an infield single, he advanced to second then third on two groundouts and then scored on the first Trillas fielding error. Junior Mejia reached on that error then stole second before scoring on the second miscue.
Tampa added on to their lead in the eighth when T. Ferguson doubled in Jose Jimenez, who singled to lead off the inning. T. Ferguson later scored after two wild pitches and Tampa took a 4-1 lead into the bottom half of the inning.
Paul Cruz led off the ninth with an opposite field double over the head of the left fielder. After he stole third, Cruz scored on Kennedy's single through the left side.
K. Ferguson (8-2) was dazzling yet again as he scattered six hits, allowing only one run and struck out nine batters in six innings of work. Jonathan Holt came into the game in the seventh to pitch for his 15th save, on his first three inning attempt.
Tampa and Florida Tech finish their SSC series tomorrow at 1:00 pm in Melbourne.