SAINT LEO, Fla. - The No. 1 University of Tampa (17-1, 4-0 SSC) fought back from a four-run deficit to take the first game of a Sunshine State Conference series against Saint Leo University (12-8, 0-1 SSC) by a 9-6 score.
The Lions took a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, as the nation's top-ranked team responded with a pair of runs in the second. Laz Rivera opened the frame with a double, and later scored on a J.D. Osborne double. Chris Gaffney then drove home Osborne on an infield single.
Saint Leo would knot the score at 2-2 with a run in the fifth, and stretch its advantage to 6-2 with a big four-run sixth.
The deficit would not deter the Spartans, who jumped on Saint Leo for five runs in the seventh inning to take a 7-6 lead. Danny Lee came through with a two-run single, as Kevin Santa and Zion Bell added RBI singles and Rivera had a sac fly.
Tampa would add an insurance run in both the eighth and ninth innings on an RBI single from Lee and a perfected-placed suicide squeeze by Adrian Chacon.
Lee would finish the day 3-for-5 at the plate, scoring one run while driving in three. Rivera was 3-for-3 with a pair of runs and an RBI, as Santa also added two hits.
Michael Calkins started for UT and got a no-decision as he threw 4.2 innings while allowing one earned run. Freshman Mark Moclair earned the victory to move to 2-0 on the season as the lone batter he faced resulted in an inning-ending strikeout prior to UT's big seventh inning.
Connor Andrews picked up his first save of the season as the senior righty threw 3.0 stellar innings of relief. He allowed just two hits while walking none and striking out three Lions.
The teams will square off in a Saturday afternoon doubleheader, which is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., at Southard Stadium. Live stats and video will be available through TampaSpartans.com.
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