LIVINGSTON, Ala. - Coming off a 12-6 victory over Florida Tech in the first game of the 2015 NCAA Regional Tournament, the University of Tampa baseball team defeated the Nova Southeastern University Sharks by an 8-1 score, Saturday.
The 2015 tournament selection marks the Spartans' 16th straight NCAA tournament appearance, and the Saturday victory marks the second-straight win of the tournament.
Taking the mound in Saturday's contest was junior Michael Calkins, tossing his first career nine-inning complete game. The 6-4 lefty struck out eight NSU batters for another career-high, allowing just three hits and improving to 5-4 on the year. In total, Calkins threw just 93 pitching in the victory.
After coming from behind in Thursday's game against FIT, the Spartans came out in the second game of the tournament with their bats at the reading. Scoring three runs in the top of the first inning, Tampa would not lose the lead for the remainder of the game.
Junior Casey Scoggins led off the inning with a one-out single up the middle, and Stephen Dezzi followed his lead with a single through the right side that gave Tampa runners on the corners. Senior Giovanny Alfonzo then stepped to the plate and sent a single through the left side, scoring Scoggins for a 1-0 lead and giving the Spartans runners on first and second. On the next play, senior Brett Jones singled through the middle and allowed Dezzi to score from second, while Alfonzo took second. After a Nova Southeastern wild pitch put both Tampa runners in scoring position, an RBI groundout from senior Nick Flair allowed Alfonzo to cross the plate, putting Tampa up, 3-0.
Neither team scored again until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Nova Southeastern put a run on the board with an RBI double.
The Spartans tacked on two runs in the top of the eighth inning, when Scoggins and Dezzi again led off with back-to-back singles. With two runners on, Alfonzo grounded into what should have been a fielder's choice, but an NSU throwing error allowed Scoggins to score and all runners to reach base safely. A sacrifice bunt from Brett Jones then advanced Alfonzo to second and pushed Dezzi to third for two runners in scoring position, and senior Flair was intentionally walked to load the bases. An RBI groundout from Paglizrulo scored Dezzi to force a 5-1 lead.
Backed by a strong pitching performance from Calkins, Tampa extended the lead to 8-1 in the top of the ninth inning. Senior Andrew Amaro led off the inning with one-out by taking first base on a hit-by-pitch, advancing to third on a Scoggins single. An NSU balk then allowed Scoggins to take second, and Amaro to score. One out later, Giovanny blasted an RBI double to left field, pushing Scoggins across the plate for the second run of the inning. Jones then wrapped up the Spartans' at-bat with a single to right field that scored Alfonzo for an 8-1 lead.
Offensively, the Spartans registered 11 hits in the outing.
Tampa will play again on Saturday at 10 p.m. Eastern Time against a team that is to be determined.
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