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Spartans shut out rival Mocs

The University of Tampa was hitting .362 as a team, averaged more than 10 runs and hit 32 homers in 29 contests.

But on Sunday, the Spartans also proved they can play defense with a 2-0 victory against Florida Southern at Sam Bailey Field.

"Our great pitching was directly related to outstanding defense," Tampa coach Terry Rupp said. "We had all kinds of guys making great plays."

Indeed, Tampa starter Tom Cray and reliever Jack Koch combined for just three strikeouts in this season's second shutout for the Spartans (23-7). Florida Southern (27-6) was shut out for the first time this season and never mounted a serious threat.

The Mocs finished with three hits, had one runner get past second base, and couldn't find an answer to Cray, who left the game with two outs in the seventh inning because of an irritated elbow.

Florida Southern was still in the game, however, before Tampa's Mike Zerbe broke up a no-hitter with a fifth-inning single and scored on a Louis Martinez double.

Zerbe added a homer in the seventh inning for his sixth of the season and his second of the three-game series.

"I was just looking for a pitch to drive," said Zerbe, who finished the series 5-for-12 with six RBI. "I didn't think it was going out, but it just kept going and going."

LSU 9, FLORIDA 5: Home runs by Danny Higgins and Brandon Larson backed up Doug Thompson's seven-hit pitching as the Tigers completed a three-game sweep.

LSU (23-2) spotted Florida (18-11) a 1-0 lead before scoring four runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a lead it would never relinquish.

DUKE 4, FSU 3: Randy Goodroe scored from third base on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth for the Blue Devils.

The win is the first for Duke (21-8, 4-5 ACC) over Florida State (23-7, 7-2) since 1995.

Chris Chavez (0-1) threw a breaking ball in the dirt to allow Goodroe to score.

HOUSTON 11, USF 6: Back-to-back homers from Dustin Carr and Jason Schreiber led the Cougars (15-8, 5-1 Conference USA) to a seven-run first inning.

Dwayne Dobson (3-2) gave up six runs on four hits in a third of an inning for the Bulls (20-8, 4-2), who pulled to within 8-4 in the third on Ross Gload's 12th homer.

ECKERD 11, BARRY 8: The Tritons (14-13, 2-1 SSC) scored three in the seventh and two in the eighth to complete a comeback. Eckerd trailed 7-6 going into the bottom of the seventh, but a two-run homer by pinch-hitter Andre Buchanan put the Tritons back in front to stay.

NORTH FLORIDA 7, SAINT LEO 4: Third baseman Jay Nunley hit two homers, including a grand slam in the third, to lead UNF (19-10, 3-3 SSC). Saint Leo left-hander Brett McKee (2-2) pitched a complete game, allowing five hits and striking out three. Eddie Diaz went 2-for-3 with a homer for the Monarchs (23-8, 3-3).

_ Information from Times wires was used in this report.