No. 1 Tampa eliminates Delta State 7-3 to reach South semifinal
TAMPA, Fla. -- Behind a late inning rally, Tampa trumped Delta State by a 7-3 score to advance to the Division II South Regional semifinal.
The Spartans continue with a 49-2 record while the Statesmen conclude their season 38-13.
The top of the Tampa order accounted for seven hits and four RBI as senior Tyler Ding posted a 3-for-5 showing. Juniors Orlando Rivera and Stephen Dezzi each collected two hits and a pair of RBI in the victory, while cleanup hitter Sean O'Brien notched a late inning RBI.
Delta State began the scoring attack, as Brent Langston picked up a pair of RBI with a two-out single to right. The Statesmen owned an early 2-0 lead in the first frame.
UT evened the score in the top of the third as Rivera and Dezzi each collected a RBI single to knot the contest at 2-2.
DSU first baseman Langston picked up his third RBI after Will Robertson stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. The Statesman held a 3-2 lead until the seventh frame.
Tampa led off the seventh frame with a baserunner as Zach Gawrych wore a 3-2 fastball. Gawrych quickly stole second to put the tying run on second base with no outs. Shortstop Giovanny Alfonzo singled to center, advancing to second on the throw, moving the tying run 90 feet away from home. A timely balk from the Statesman tied the game for Tampa who went on to score the go-ahead run thanks to a Connor Obrochta sacrifice fly.
With a slim 4-3 lead, Tampa turned the ball over to its closer Kevin McNorton who picked up the victory just a day earlier in the South Region opener. The senior retired the first six batters he faced as Tampa entered the top of the ninth.
Junior Alfonzo singled to left field to begin the ninth as Obrochta bunted the insurance run into scoring position a batter later. Second baseman Rivera roped a RBI triple to deep right field, padding the Spartan lead. Not to be outdone, Dezzi laced a 0-2 pitch up the middle to bring home Rivera. The designated hitter would cross the plate as O'Brien grounded out to second, not before giving UT a 7-3 lead.
Closer McNorton nailed down the final three-outs to secure the win and earn his 11th save of the season.
Sophomore David Heintz (10-0) picked up the win after throwing six complete innings of three-run baseball. The right-hander picked up four strikeouts while limiting the No. 7 team in the nation to two earned runs.
DSU starter Jonathan Moody (9-4) was tabbed with the loss, surrendering four runs across seven innings.