TAMPA, Fla. — No. 8 Tampa defeated fellow Sunshine State Conference opponent Rollins by a two-run margin on Friday night. The 9-7 win improves the Spartans to 24-5 (6-4 SSC) as the Tars fall to 18-9 (1-3 SSC).
The scoring started in the bottom of the first inning as the Tars managed to get two early runs off the Spartan pitching staff. Tampa responded with two runs of its own in the team’s next chance at-bat.
A triple by sophomore Zach Gawrych brought home junior Jake Schrader, who had previously gotten on with a walk. A single by junior Adam Pendleton allowed Gawrych to cross the plate and tie the game up at two.
A solo homerun by Schrader in the fourth provided little ease to the brunt of Rollins four-run inning in the bottom of the third. Two more Spartans and one Tar crossed the plate in the fifth, putting the score at 7-5, in Rollins’ favor.
After scoreless sixth and seventh innings by both sides, the Spartans took their first lead of the night in the eighth. After Pendleton scored from third on a pass ball, Connor Obrochta was able to cross the plate on a Damon Elder RBI to tie the game at seven.
Three straight singles towards right field by Eric Grabe, Heath Pritchard and Schrader helped contribute two more runs to the Spartans total, giving them a 9-7 lead, their first. All nine batters in the Spartan lineup got a chance at-bat in the inning.
Tampa held its 9-7 lead until the final out of the game.
Both Schrader and Obrochta went 2-for-3 as Gawrych and Andrew Jones hit .500 on the night. Elder, Schrader, and Gawrych recorded two RBI each. The Spartans collected 13 hits total off the Rollins Pitching staff while Tampa’s gave up 17 to the Tars.
Jones would leave the game in the midst of the Spartans’ eighth-inning comeback after getting hit in the face by a pitch from Tar Mike Howard, who would later be tabbed with the loss.
Junior southpaw Ben O’Shea started on the mound for Tampa. O’Shea threw five complete innings, walking only one Tar and striking out four. O’Shea allowed five earned runs in the contest. Senior lefty Justin Leith went 2.0 innings, giving up only one hit, one walk, and was awarded the win, his second.
Sophomore righty Preston Packrall also threw two complete innings. Packrall allowed three hits and struck out the same number. Packrall collected the save, his fifth of the season.