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SPARTANS SHORTS

It's no wonder why University of Tampa baseball coach Terry Rupp said he feels good about where his team stands: The Spartans are 21-6, ranked No. 1 in the country, hitting .367 as a team and scoring more than 10 runs a game.

Tampa, however, faces some of its toughest games as it plunges into the Sunshine State Conference schedule this weekend with a three-game series against No. 2 ranked Florida Southern.

"I can't think of a better way to start the conference schedule," Rupp said. "I expect some great games against Florida Southern. We usually do play well against each other."

Florida Southern (25-4) owns a 73-48 series record against Tampa and the Mocs also own the edge in national titles 8-2.

In recent years, however, the series has tightened up, hence the fact in 12 of the schools' last 14 series both came in ranked in the nation's top-10.

SWIMMING: The Spartan men finished 16th at last week's Division II national championships in San Antonio, Texas. Chris Plaisted, who earned All-America honors, led the way by placing second in the 200 butterfly, sixth in the 1,650 freestyle and ninth in the 500 free. The women finished 17th overall with strong performances from All-America Joanne Bellard (sixth in the 200 breaststroke and ninth in the 100 breaststroke).

SOFTBALL: The Spartans already have won more games this season (nine) than all of last season, when they went 5-31.

Tampa features four freshmen pitchers, led by Robyn Markley (5-3) and Lisa Weinberg (2-7). Weinberg also leads the team with a .323 average.

GOLF: UT finished seventh out of 12 at the Northwood Invitational, where Eckerd placed third, tops among Sunshine State Conference participants.

CREW: Tampa is hosting the first SSC rowing championships, March 29 at the Bypass Canal. The meet is for women only.

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