TAMPA, Fla. - The No. 6 University of Tampa Spartans baseball team defeated the visiting No. 20 Saint Leo University Lions in walkoff fashion, Friday evening from UT Baseball Field. The 3-2 win pushed the Spartans to a 32-11 overall record on the year.
The first inning was quiet for both teams, as both the Spartans and the Lions went three up, three down. In the bottom of the first however, Giovanny Alfonzo led off the outing with a double to the right field wall. Two outs later, Cody deNoyelles answered the call with a single through the left side that scored Alfonzo to give Tampa a 1-0 lead.
After two more scoreless innings, the Lions jumped on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth, forcing a two-out rally and scoring two runs on four hits to take a 2-1 lead.
Tampa responded in the bottom of the sixth inning, however, Andrew Amaro blasted a solo homerun over the left-centerfield fence to tie the score at 2-2.
With the score tied in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Spartans loaded the bases but were unable to capitalize, forcing extra innings.
Holding Saint Leo off the bases in the top of the tenth, Tampa returned in the bottom of the inning hungry for a victory. After a quick out, senior Stephen Dezzi sent a hit up the middle to give the Spartans a base runner, and Alfonzo followed with a double to put two in scoring position. With runners on second and third, junior Ian Townsend stepped to the plate and ripped a walkoff single to secure a 3-2 victory.
In total, Tampa registered nine hits on the evening, recording two extra-base hits and stealing one base. The Spartans also walked four times and forced two Saint Leo defensive errors.
Senior Chase Sparkman started on the mound for the Spartans, tossing 6.2 innings and allowing just two runs on nine hits. In the top of the seventh, sophomore Dylan Barrow came in for relief duties, hurling the final 3.1 innings and holding the Lions scoreless.
The No. 6 Spartans and No. 20 Lions will wrap up the Sunshine State Conference series with a Saturday doubleheader tomorrow. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m. from UT Baseball Field on the campus of the University of Tampa. Live stats will be available through Tampa.Statbroadcast.com.
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