CARY, N.C. -- Southern Indiana beat No. 1 Tampa 4-3 to start the NCAA Division II national finals at the USA Baseball National Training Center. USI raises its record to 46-12, while Tampa goes to 51-3.
The victory is USI's first against Tampa in the history of the program and snapped the Spartans' 21-game winning streak. The win also marked the second consecutive finals that the Screaming Eagles have knocked off a No. 1 team (last was the 2010 title game versus UC San Diego).USI scored its first with a tally in the opening frame when senior designated hitter Brent Weinzapfel knocked in sophomore rightfielder Kyle Kempf with his first hit of the game. Tampa would knot the game up at 1-1 in the bottom half of the opening inning.
The Eagles would regain the lead in the top of the fourth when Weinzapfel scored on a two-out hit by senior leftfielder Brad Wannemuehler. The USI lead would be short lived as the Spartans took their first lead of the game 3-2 on a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth.
Weinzapfel would strike again in the top of the sixth to tie the game, 3-3, by singling to lead off the inning, advancing to second on a sacrifice, and scoring on a RBI single by sophomore rightfielder Hamilton Carr. Weinzapfel would finish the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
USI would get the game-winning run in the top of the ninth when Kempf doubled down the left field line, scoring Wannemuehler from second base. Wannemuehler moved into scoring position by leading off the final frame with a single and advancing to second on a two-strike sacrifice by senior second baseman Caleb Eickhoff.
USI junior right-hander Ben Wright made the most of USI's four runs and delivered a dominating performance on the mound. Wright (7-3) posted his second complete game of the season, allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits and a walk.
The Eagles continue the NCAA II national finals Monday at 5 p.m. ET when they play the winner of Chico State versus Lander.