CARY, N.C. -- Unleashing a 19-hit assault, Tampa blew out Chico State by a 14-6 score. The Spartans continue on in the NCAA Division II finals with a 52-3 record while the Wildcats conclude their season 43-15.
Head coach Joe Urso’s squad hit a combined .413 batting average (19-46) and forced 173 pitches from the Chico State pitching staff.
Junior Stephen Dezzi and senior Tyler Ding led the Tampa barrage, as both players recorded four hits and a RBI. Dezzi laced a pair of doubles and crossed the plate three times while Ding swung 4-for-5 in the outing to increase his season batting average to a team-leading .407 clip.
The Spartan outfield ignited for nine hits as Michael Danner, Connor Obrochta and Zach Gawrych each tallied three hits. Danner was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle as the senior scored three RBI for UT. Fellow senior Obrochta laced two doubles with an RBI and two runs scored.
Chico State designated hitter Tyler Madrid notched three hits, including the game’s lone home run, a two-run shot to right field. Four other Wildcat hitters recorded multiple hits but were unable to match the Spartan attack.Both pitching staffs struggled in the early innings as the game saw 11 hurlers between the two teams. Sophomore Trey Oest (9-0) earned the win for UT, limiting the Wildcats to four runs in five innings of work.
Senior Kevin McNorton entered the game in the sixth with two runs already crossing the plate and runners at first and second with no outs. The Spartan closer induced three quick outs to halt the Wildcat comeback attempt and change the tone of the game. McNorton tossed three innings, limiting Chico State to a pair of hits with no runs scored, giving way to Brett Jones to finish the ninth and continue the season for Tampa.
Wildcats starting pitcher Nick Baker (10-2) was tabbed with the loss, allowing eight runs off 12 hits in 3.2 innings of work. Chico State used six pitchers to complete nine innings as the hot-hitting Spartans pummeled through the bullpen to tack on another six runs in the 14-6 romp.
Tampa will continue the tournament and face the loser of the Lander versus Southern Indiana matchup at 5:30 p.m. ET Monday. The elimination game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. ET start on Wednesday.