TAMPA, Fla. - The No. 8 ranked University of Tampa Spartans baseball team swept Saturday's doubleheader against the No. 10 Lynn University Fighting Knights. After a 10-inning 8-7 walk off, the Spartans returned in game two to rally for an 11-7 defeat, improving to 27-11 on the season.
Junior Michael Calkins took the mound in the first game of the day, tossing 4.2 innings and allowing just one run on three hits during his first start of the season. The lefty struck out two before junior Dylan Barrow toed the rubber in relief, throwing 4.1 innings and allowing six runs on eight hits.
The final Tampa pitcher to appear in game one was senior Taylor Brookes, who pitched the tenth inning and earned his second victory of the year.
Lynn responded with one run in the top of the fourth inning, but the Spartans took back a one-run lead in the bottom of the fifth with another sacrifice fly out from Jones.
The Fighting Knights again picked up one run in the top of the seventh and eighth innings, but an RBI from Nick Flair, Giovanny Alfonzo, Vin Cosenzo, and Brett Jones in the Tampa halves of those innings put the Spartans ahead, 6-3.
With a three-run deficit heading into the ninth, Lynn rallied for four runs on four hits to take their first lead of the game, 7-6. Refusing defeat, Tampa strategically scored a run in the bottom of the inning off one run and a Lynn error, tying the game.
After holding Lynn scoreless in the top of the tenth, junior Nick Tindall stepped up to the plate as the first batter in the inning and blasted a walk-off homerun over the left-centerfield fence.
In the second game of the day, however, Lynn came out swinging, forcing one-run rallies in the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead. In the third, the Fighting Knights picked up another two runs, going ahead 4-0.
Trailing by four, Tampa's Brett Jones picked up another RBI in the bottom of the third inning, bringing the score to 4-1.
Lynn responded with another run in the top of the fourth, extending the lead back to four, but again the Spartans picked up a run in the bottom of the inning to shorten the deficit to three.
The fifth inning was quiet for Lynn offensively, allowing the Spartans to jumpstart a rally that would result in three runs on two hits and a walk. Both Nick Tindall and Stephen Dezzi homered in the inning, tying the game at 5-5.
Lynn scored another run in the top of the sixth, regaining the lead, but Tampa took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the inning on a solo homerun from Alonzo and a sacrifice fly-out from Andrew Amaro.
For extra measure, Tampa scored two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to extend the lead to 11-6. Cody deNoyelles and Stephen Dezzi both recorded RBI in the innings, while Nick Flair and Brett Jones also registered hits.
The Fighting Knights picked up a run in the top of the ninth to bring the score to 11-7, but it was the Spartans who took home the win, sweeping Saturday play.
On the day, the Spartans tallied 19 runs on 22 hits. Tampa also earned five stolen bases, walked 12 times, and recorded six extra base hits.
Four pitchers appeared for the Spartans in game two of the day, as junior Brad Hencke got the start and tossed three innings before sophomore Jake Mielock appeared in relief. Mielock threw 2.2 innings and allowed just two runs before Zac Favre took the mound towards the end of the sixth inning.
Favre, who earned the win and improved to 2-0 on the season, tossed 2.2 innings and allowed just one run on three hits during the appearance. In the top of the eighth, Taylor Brookes appeared for the second time during the doubleheader, shutting down the Fighting Knights in 0.2 innings pitched and earning his first save of the year. As a whole, the Spartans pitching staff struck out five Lynn batters during the second game.
The No. 8 Spartans will return to play on Friday, April 17 when they take on the Florida Tech Panthers in another Sunshine State Conference. First pitch for the single game is set for 6:00 p.m. from the Panthers' home field in Melbourne, Fla. Live stats will be available through Tampa.Statbroadcast.com.
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