TAMPA, Fla. – The third-ranked University of Tampa baseball team is set to host its final home series of the 2016 regular season. The Spartans will welcome in the Palm Beach Atlantic University Sailfish into the UT Baseball Field. UT enters the matchup with a 33-7 record and has won 11 of its past 12 games. PBA enters the matchup with a record of 19-24 and is coming off a victory against Nova Southeastern.
Friday's game is set for 6:00 p.m. and the Saturday doubleheader is set to begin at 1:00 p.m. Saturday will also mark senior day for the Spartans as 15 student-athletes will be recognized.
Last time out the Spartans faced off against rival Florida Southern. The Spartans claimed the series victory winning games one and three. Game three was a thriller as J.D. Osborne came in the clutch in the bottom of the ninth. With the Mocs leading 6-5 in the final inning with two outs, Osborne took a two-strike pitch and lined it down the third base line to give UT the 7-6 walk-off victory.
Offensively Tampa is led by Vin Cosenzo, who has found his groove late in the season. The lefty is batting a team-high .429 and has belted six home runs. In the series against Florida Southern, Cosenzo hit three home runs, including two in the series finale. He also drove in seven runs in the three games. Laz Rivera continues to swing a hot bat as he is hitting at a .420 clip and leads the team with 19 doubles. The 19 doubles are good for 14th in the nation. Cody deNoyelles leads the team with 44 RBI, as he has connected on eight home runs on the season.
On the mound, senior reliever Conner Andrews leads the staff with a 3.09 ERA. He is also third on the team with four victories coming from the bullpen. Christopher Williams leads the team with seven wins and is second on the team with 48 strikeouts. Senior Kevin Martin leads the team with 55 strikeouts while senior Brad Hencke leads the staff with 56.1 innings pitched.
The Sailfish are led offensively by Peter Rivera, who is coming into the series with a .356 batting average. He has pounded out 47 hits, including 14 doubles, a triple, and four home runs. Kyle Simon is batting .316 and leads the team with nine home runs.
On the mound, David Paul leads the staff with a 2.30 ERA and Dominic Monda leads the team with six wins on the season.
Tampa leads the all-time series with Palm Beach Atlantic 14-6 with the two meeting last season in West Palm Beach for a three-game series. After dropping the first game 5-2, UT bounced back to win the final two games 3-1 and 14-13.
The regional rankings were also released by the NCAA on Wednesday, and the Spartans are on top of the South Region poll. Tampa is followed by conference foe Nova Southeastern, who is in second. Fellow conference school Florida Southern is sitting in the seventh place, and Lynn is in eighth. In this year's format, seven teams will be a part of the NCAA South Regional Tournament.
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