CARY, N.C. — Senior outfielder Zach Gawrych drove in a pair of runs and junior starter Chase Sparkman took a shutout into the ninth inning, leading No. 1 seed Tampa to a 3-1 victory over No. 4 Colorado Mesa on Thursday in the Division II baseball championships.
Sparkman (4-1) limited the Mavericks (46-12) to six hits over 81/3 innings, did not walk a batter and struck out three. After giving up a one-out single to the ABCA and NCBWA national player of the year, Austin Kaiser, Sparkman gave way to closer Kevin McNorton, who surrendered an RBI single to Garrett Woodward before finishing off his second save of the tournament and 13th of the year.
Mesa's Ryan Reno (3-2) held the defending national champion Spartans (54-3) to seven hits and one earned run in his second complete-game effort of the season. He was hurt by a pair of CMU errors that led to two unearned runs.
The loss was the first for the Mavericks and forced a second meeting with Tampa at 1 p.m. today to determine who advances to Saturday's national title game.
The Spartans, held to one hit over four innings, used two hits and a Mesa error to break the scoreless tie in the fifth. Gio Alfonzo hit a one-out single and advanced to third when a pickoff throw to first by catcher Austin Wallingford sailed into the rightfield corner. Gawrych followed with an RBI single.
Tampa added a second run in the top of the seventh. Michael Danner led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Alfonzo and scored on a single up the middle by Gawrych.
The Spartans tacked on an insurance run in the eighth. Stephen Dezzi led off with a single and moved to second on Tyler Ding's sacrifice bunt. The Mavericks tried to turn an inning-ending double play on a grounder by Danner, but the throw from shortstop Nate Robertson was wide of first, allowing Dezzi to score.
Pasco-Hernando goes home
EDIN, Okla. — The Madison (Wis.) Wolfpack beat Pasco-Hernando State College 7-3 in a semifinal elimination game at the NJCAA Division II World Series. The Conquistadors scored on a Jose Alonzo home run in the second, Tyler Cooler's sacrifice fly in the fourth and Alonzo's sac fly in the fifth. Up 3-2 in the seventh, PHSC (27-18) gave up a walk, a hit by a pitch and a wild pitch in succession, leading to three Madison runs. Chris McCormick took the loss, pitching 62/3 innings, giving up five runs on five hits, three earned.
Softball: World Series
UF wins: Hannah Rogers pitched five shutout innings to lead Florida to an 11-0 victory over Baylor in the opening game at the College World Series in Oklahoma City. Kristi Merritt had two hits and scored two runs. Briana Little also had a hit and scored twice. The Gators scored six times in the fifth inning, with pinch-hitter Chelsea Herndon's bases-loaded homer triggering the mercy rule. Florida's 11 runs were the most in the opening game of a CWS, and the 11-run margin was the largest in a CWS opener. The No. 5 seed Gators play No. 1 Oregon at 7 tonight.
FSU loses: Oregon's Cheridan Hawkins one-hit the Seminoles, who lost their CWS opener 3-0. A leadoff single by Palm Harbor's Maddie O'Brien was the lone Florida State hit. It was just the second time this season that the eighth-seeded Seminoles have been shut out. National player of the year Lacey Waldrop was relieved in the top of the sixth after allowing 10 hits, tying a season high. She gave up three runs and walked one. FSU plays Baylor at noon Saturday in an elimination game.
Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said starting guard Isaiah Cousins is expected to recover after he was struck by a stray bullet in his hometown of Mount Vernon, N.Y. Mount Vernon Police Deputy Commissioner Richard Burke said Cousins was walking with friends Tuesday when he was hit in an exchange of gunfire a street away. Kruger said Cousins was struck in the back of the shoulder but won't need surgery.