UT Baseball Set for Early Challenge at Steinbrenner Field

UT Baseball Set for Early Challenge at Steinbrenner Field

TAMPA, Fla. - The University of Tampa baseball program is set to open its 2019 season at Steinbrenner field for three games against top NCAA Division II programs.

The Spartans will meet Lander University on Friday at 1 p.m. On Saturday, Tampa meets No. 19 Mount Olive College at noon, and then concludes the weekend in a premier matchup on Sunday at noon that pits the No. 2 Spartans against No. 1 North Greenville University.

Tickets will be available at the Steinbrenner Field gate for $5. UT will offer live stats for the games through TampaStats.com.

As the 2019 Tampa baseball season rolls around, there is nothing, but high expectations in the air. With 19 new players and hungry returners from the previous year for head coach Joe Urso's squad, Tampa Baseball will battle for another SSC and the ultimate goal, the NCAA Division II National Championship.

Following is a breakdown of the 2019 Spartans.

#2 Drew Ehrhard: The 2018 Gold Glove Winner is expected to play a similar role batting early in the lineup and starting at second base as well as picking up some leadership responsibilities for the Spartans. Drew batted .344 with 56 RBI and 5 home runs in his freshman campaign.

#4 Nick DeTringo: The All-SSC winner is expected to find a spot in the lineup as he was a essential part in the Tampa Spartans success in 2018. The red-shirt senior finished the season with an average of .348, 41 runs scored, and 9 home runs in the one hole.

#5 Stephen Smith: The second-year outfielder is expected to have a similar role as last year as he appeared in 52 games for the Spartans. Look to see Smith playing a corner outfield position as he hit .288 with 46 RBIs and 16 stolen bases the year before.

#6 Tyler Beck: The senior right-handed pitcher appeared in 11.1 innings with 13 strikeouts last year. It is expected for Beck to play a much bigger role as the Spartans look to lean on some arms out of the bullpen.

#8 Jordan Leasure: This junior figured to be a top performer and member of the rotation, but will redshirt the 2019 season.

#9 Danny Blair: A University of South Carolina transfer, Danny Blair looks to find a big role and a starting spot in the outfield for Tampa. Finished with 41 games played and hitting .230 in the SEC for the Gamecocks.

#10 Nick Derr: The Florida State transfer is battling to win a spot in the lineup after playing his two years in the ACC. Derr could find himself being an important piece to the success of the Spartans after hitting six home runs with 24 RBIs and 30 runs scored for the Noles.

#11 Keenan Bell: 2017 National Champion, Keenan Bell, looks to bring that success from The University of Florida to the Spartans. After playing in 61 games and .246 in SEC play, Bell is expected to hit in the middle of the lineup and play first base for Tampa.

#12 Colton Widdows: The junior left-handed pitcher is expected to eat up a bunch of innings after appearing in 55.2 innings in two years for Tampa. Widdows could find most of his success coming out of the bullpen.

#13 Yorvis Torrealba: Torrealba, a new addition in the outfield from College of Central Florida, is a guy that can change the look and play a role when it comes to wins and losses. The outfielder seeks the same success he achieved at JUCO after hitting .324 with 13 home runs and 52 runs scored.

#14 James Reynolds: The Palm Beach State transfer is expected to make an immediate impact on the mound either out of the bullpen or getting the nod as a starter. In two years at Palm Beach, Reynolds pitched 99.3 innings with 94 strikeouts.

#15 Danny Maynard: The second-year senior looks to find a role and fight for a spot in the Spartan lineup. The all-around returner hit .263 with two home runs and 10 RBI the season before and will get his chance to make a difference for Tampa.

#16 Jack Loefflad: The high energy, the fourth-year catcher will battle to find his role in the 2019 Tampa season. Loefflad found himself hitting .375 with 4 RBI after the 2018 season but can expect to see some play time behind the dish.

#17 Stevie Mangrum: The Virginia Tech transfer is expected to bring a power bat from one of the corner outfield positions to the Spartans in 2019. In his most recent season at VT, Mangrum found the field in 44 games racking up 16 RBIs, seven home runs, and six doubles.

#18 Sammy Peralta: The left-handed transfer from Palm Beach State is fighting for a spot in the starting rotation but will find some time on the mound for the Tampa staff. Last year, Peralta appeared in 12 games ending 4-0 with 55 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.71.

#19 Matt Wesoloski: The 6'6, energetic sidearm right-hander could be extremely useful going into the stacked 2019 schedule. The junior made a few appearances for the Spartans over the last two years and looks to make an impact this year.

#20 Cooper Krug: The big right-hander looks to add on to the season he had last year and could an important arm out of the pen for the Spartans. Last year, Krug appeared in three games posting a 3.38 ERA and eight strikeouts in eight innings pitched.

#21 Jacinto Arredondo: Arredondo, the Wallace CC transfer, is expected to continue his college successes and be a high power, high strikeout arm in any role for Tampa. In two years at Wallace CC, Arredondo finished 13-7 racking up 169 strikeouts in 149.2 innings pitched.

#23 John Pichman: The two-way guy from SCF looks to find a role with the Spartans either on the mound, with the bat, or even both. Pichman finished his sophomore campaign hitting .317 with nine home runs and 56 RBIs.

#24 Luis Medina: The junior hitter out of College of Central Florida seeks to bring his past successes to the loaded line-up of Tampa. Medina tallied up 16 home runs, 81 RBI, and 90 runs scored in two years at CF.

#25 Luke McDonald: McDonald could find himself in a few roles behind the dish for the Spartans. McDonald received a redshirt for the 2018 season and did not participate.

#27 Mikey Navarette: Navarette, the Santa Fe College transfer, is expected to be an important piece of the success for the Spartans as he looks to lock down the shortstop position. Last year at Sante Fe, Navarette hit .281 with 42 runs scored as well as being lights out at shortstop.

#28 Sam Freitas: The Florida Southwestern transfer looks to find a role for Tampa using his ability to play multiple positions around the field. Over the course of the 2018 season, Freitas hit .318 with 29 RBI, 12 stolen bases, and four home runs.

#29 Khalib Bayona: The freshman out of Berkley Prep looks to develop his skills behind many of the experienced players and coaches around him. Bayona must still be ready as the collegiate baseball season is ever changing.

#30 Alec Aleywine: The left-handed power bat out of Gulf Coast State could find himself in multiple roles including on the mound or in the middle of the stacked Spartan lineup. Last year, Aleywine put together an average of .350 with 50 RBIs and nine home runs.

#31 Tanner Foster: The senior transfer from Northern Illinois has the possibility to receive a starting spot in the rotation, but if not, Foster is expected to appear in a good amount of innings for the Tampa staff. At NIU, Foster appeared in 12 games finishing with 69.2 innings pitched, an ERA of 2.33, and 76 strikeouts.

#32 Keven Pimentel: The First Team All-SSC right-handed pitcher returns looking to take over the Friday night role for the Spartans. Last year for Tampa, Pimentel was quite successful finishing 9-2 with an ERA of 2.42 and 63 strikeouts.

#33 Cole Perry: The senior looks to make an impact in the lineup and add on to the season he had last year. Perry hit .339 with 14 RBIs and one homer making a difference for the Spartans in 2018.

#35 Alex Passarella: The redshirt sophomore out of NYIT could find himself making a huge impact for Tampa and their pitching staff. As a freshman at NYIT, Passarella made seven starts finishing with an ERA of 4.66.

#38 Luke Benoit: The freshman out of IMG Academy will work to develop his skills, mindset, and strength throughout the 2019 season. The corner outfielder needs to stay hungry as he could find himself in an important situation this season.

#39 Bo Weiss: Weiss, the University of North Carolina transfer, is expected to make an instant impact on the mound. The junior is looked to be leaned on and very successful in a possible starting role in the rotation. In two years at UNC, Weiss put together an ERA of 2.79 and 18 strikeouts in 21 appearances.

#41 Mason Duke: The University of Alabama transfer looks to find a spot in the starting rotation and make a significant difference within the Spartans pitching staff. Last year, Duke finished the season going 2-2 with an ERA of 3.41 and 33 strikeouts over 31.2 innings pitched for the Crimson Tide.

#42 Deaven Phillips: The second-year right-handed pitcher seeks to make a distinct difference out of the bullpen for Tampa. With an impressive summer and a year of Tampa baseball under his belt, Phillips can be expected to eat up innings for the staff.

#43 John DeFazio: The sophomore JV call up looks to find a role within the bullpen. In 28 innings on JV, DeFazio struck out 43 batters allowing 19 runs on the year.

#44 Danny Sirven: The competitive senior catcher is expected to play the same role as last season as well as taking on a leadership role for the Spartans. Sirven had an impressive junior season behind the dish playing 50 games and hitting .340 with 45 RBI and five home runs.