Tampa advances to championship game with routing of Grand Valley State
CARY, N.C. -- Tampa will play for the program's sixth national championship following a 10-1 victory against Grand Valley State on Friday at the NCAA Baseball Championship Series.
Connor Obrochta broke out of a batting slump with a fourth-inning grand slam and starting pitcher Mike Adams tossed six scoreless innings as Tampa advanced to the championship game.
Tampa (45-13) will take on Minnesota State-Mankato (42-8) Saturday in a winner-takes-all championship game. Grand Valley State (38-19), which defeated Tampa 4-0 Thursday to force a rematch Friday, finishes third in the championship.
Tampa opened the top of the fourth inning with back-to-back singles by B.J. Zimmerman and Jake Schrader. The Spartans loaded the bases with nobody out as Zach Garwych's sacrifice attempt became a bunt single when the ball refused to roll foul. Grand Valley State third baseman Stephen Claypool barehanded the ball, but Garwych beat the throw by a step.
With the infield drawn in, Grand Valley State pitcher Anthony Campanella (10-5) was able to retire the next two batters on groundouts to each corner. Claypool made a leaping grab on a bouncer to third, spun around and threw Zimmerman out at the plate. Laker first baseman Giancarlo Brugnoni threw Schrader out at home for the second out, bring up Obrochta.
After taking the first pitch for a ball, Obrochta hit a high fly to left that, despite no wind, kept carrying until it went over the fence for a grand slam home run to give Tampa a 5-0 lead. The home run was Obrachta's sixth of the year.
After getting shut out for only the second time this season Thursday, Tampa broke a scoreless tie in the top of the second as Sean O'Brien led off with a single up the middle and advanced to third on Zimmerman's hit-and-run single down the right field line. O'Brien scored and Zimmerman went to second on Schrader's sacrifice fly to the warning track in center.
Tampa broke the game open with a five-run sixth inning, highlighted by a double steal for the first run of the inning and a two-run single by O'Brien.
Adams (8-0) struck out the first two batters he faced and, after allowing a two-out single to Kevin Zak, retired the next seven batters, five on groundouts to second. The streak ended on Claypool's leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth, but Adams retired the next three batters.
Grand Valley State threatened in the bottom of the fifth as Jesse Abel drew a one-out walk and Taylor Banks followed with a single. Tampa shortstop Jacob Tillotson's throw to second just barely beat Banks for the force and Adams got a comebacker to end the inning.
The Lakers avoided the shutout in the bottom of the ninth as Brugnoni and Matthew Schuch singled, and Brugnoni scored on a wild pitch. Four Tampa relievers combined to allow only two hits in the final three innings.
Adams struck out four, walked one and scattered five hits in only his second start of the season. Adams also made a relief appearance in the first round of the finals, striking out four in 2.1 scoreless and hitless innings.