FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The No. 2 University of Tampa Spartans baseball team fell to the No. 6 Nova Southeastern University Sharks, Friday evening from NSU baseball complex. The 7-6 loss pushed the Spartans to a 7-3 Sunshine State Conference record and second-place in the standings.
Tampa jumped on the board quickly, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning to take an early lead. Casey Scoggins led off the inning with a single through the left side, and speedily took second base on the following single from Brett Jones. A walk to Stephen Dezzi then loaded the bases, and Nick Flair reached on a fielder's choice that resulted in no outs, allowing Scoggins to score and take the lead. With the bases still loaded, an RBI single from Giovanny Alfonzo allowed Jones to score. One out later, a sacrifice flyout from Cody deNoyelles allowed Dezzi to cross the plate, and the next play featured an RBI single from Nick Tindall which allowed Flair to score.
The Sharks were unable to react to Tampa's offensive surge until the bottom of the second inning, when a two-out rally of hits resulted in a Nova Southeastern run.
Leading 4-1, the Spartans tacked on another run in the top of the fourth inning off consecutive singles from Scoggins, Jones, and Dezzi. The Sharks responded in the bottom of the inning, however, with a run of the own, bringing the score to 5-2.
After No. 2 Tampa went scoreless in the top of the fifth, the Sharks came out in the bottom of the inning to rally for four runs on four hits, one Tampa error, and a collection of passed balls and wild pitches.
Trailing 6-5, the Spartans got their offense going again in the seventh inning, thanks to a sacrifice flyout from Ian Townsend that scored Flair. The seventh inning ended with the score tied at 6-6.
Neither team scored in the eighth inning, and after a scoreless outing for the Spartans in the ninth, Tampa was hoping for extra innings.
Refusing defeat, the Sharks scored in the bottom of the ninth to take the ballgame, 7-6. Nova Southeastern's Michal Hernandez was credited with the walkoff.
Junior righty David Heintz tossed four complete innings as Tampa's starter in the contest, allowing five earned runs on seven hits and no walks. Junior lefty Michael Calkins appeared in relief during the fifth inning, and stood on the mound for the remainder of the contest. In 4.1 innings pitched, the reliever allowed two earned runs on four hits. He struck out seven batters and was credited with the loss.
As a team, the Spartans recorded nine hits and two walks in the outing, leaving seven runners on base. Junior Casey Scoggins led the offensive effort, registering three hits to lead all players in the contest.
The No. 2 Spartans will wrap up the Sunshine State Conference series tomorrow when they take on the top-ranked Nova Southeastern Sharks in a Saturday doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Nova Southeastern's NSU Baseball Complex. Live stats will be available through Tampa.Statbroadcast.com.
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