No.1 Spartans Open Up SSC Play Against Buccaneers

No.1 Spartans Open Up SSC Play Against Buccaneers

TAMPA, Fla. - The No.1 University of Tampa baseball team will open up Sunshine State Conference play this weekend as they host Barry University.

The series will feature two days of action, beginning with a Friday night showdown at 6 p.m. and a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m., at the UT Baseball Field. 

The Spartans enter the series sporting a record of 8-1 after taking two of the three games from the West Florida Argonauts in Pensacola, Fla. two weekends ago. UT dropped its first game of the season in a 1-0 pitcher's duel on Sunday to close out the series with UWF.

Head coach Joe's Urso's squad is hitting .311 as a team and averaging seven runs per game. Leading the team are middle infielders, Kevin Santa and Laz Rivera. Santa is carrying an average of .500 and a slugging percentage of .763 through his first 39 at-bats of the season. Santa's nine RBI are tied for best on the team with Rivera and J.D. Osborne.

Projected to take the mound Tampa, are lefties Brad Hencke and Michael Calkins, who come into the series with ERAs of 0.53 and 1.88 respectively. Also toeing the rubber for the Spartans will be David Heintz. The hard-throwing right-hander has tallied 16 strikeouts to this point in the young season.

The Buccaneers come into the series with a record of 9-3, and are fresh off an 11-8 victory over regional opponent Palm Beach Atlantic on Tuesday. Barry also sits in first place in the SSC at 2-1, as they took two of three games against Eckerd last weekend.

Barry's offense is led by Alex DeGoti, who leads the team in batting average (.432), RBI (17) and slugging percentage (.727). Also making significant contributions to the team's effort at the plate are Ramon Valdez and Kahlil Denson, hitting .421 and .373 respectively. 

Projected to take the hill for BU are Luis Deville, Daniel Broeseker, and Alex Lavandero. Deville leads the team in innings pitched with 21 and carries a 2-0 record. Both Broeseker and Lavandero hold records of 1-0 with ERAs of 2.93 and 3.86. 

Tampa leads the all-time series versus Barry with a record of 70-24 record against Barry University and took two of three from the Bucs last season down in Miami Shores. The Spartans have also taken 10 of the previous 12 meetings from Barry. 

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