TAMPA, Fla. – The Bentley University Falcons put up a strong showing in their first action of the 2014 season, but were swept by the defending NCAA Division II champions in a non-conference baseball doubleheader Saturday evening at the UT Baseball Field.
The University of Tampa, ranked number one in Division II preseason, scored a pair of early runs to take the opener 2-1 and used a two-run homer by junior first baseman Nick Tindall (O'Fallon, Ill.) to prevail 5-2 in the nightcap.
Bentley had a total of 13 hits in the doubleheader, including three by senior third baseman Nate Witkowski (Melrose, Mass./Malden Catholic HS).
In the opener, senior center fielder Connor Obrochta (Gulfport, Fla.) led off the bottom of the first for Tampa with a triple down the left field line and scored one batter later on an infield grounder. Two innings later, after a lead-off single, senior first baseman Tyler Ding (Tampa, Fla.) made it a 2-0 game with an RBI double to left center.
Bentley's first run of the 2014 season came in the top of the sixth. After a single up the middle by senior left fielder Sean Keady (Norwood, Mass./Norwood HS), a throwing error and a fielder's choice put runners on the corners, senior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./Ludlowe HS) picked up the RBI when Keady scored on his grounder to first.
Bentley received quality relief pitching from senior Scott Lueders (Mansfield, Mass./Newton South HS) and sophomore Will Alden (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy), with the pair of righties combining for five scoreless innings.
Sophomore righty and Virginia transfer Trey Oest (Brandon, Fla.) earned the win with five scoreless innings in which he allowed three hits and struck out four. Senior Kevin McNorton (Columbiana, Ala.) came on for the save as he blanked the Falcons in the eighth and ninth innings.
In the nightcap, Bentley scored twice in the second to grab a 2-1 lead. Nagy led off with a single through the left side and senior shortstop Will Brennan (Locust Valley, N.Y./Locust Valley HS) followed with a single to left. Following a sacrifice bunt, sophomore catcher Bryan Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./ Dighton-Rehoboth HS) picked up an RBI in a ground out and freshman second baseman Burton Deady (Andover, Mass./Andover HS) plated the second run with a single down the left field line.
Tampa came back to even the game in the bottom of the second and claimed the lead when Tindall cleared the left field fence with one on in the fifth. The Spartans picked up an insurance run in the eighth inning.
Freshman righty Jake Mielock (Safety Harbor, Fla.) earned the win with four innings of one-relief in which he struck out six. That came after Bentley picked up five hits in the game's first four innings.
The two teams will complete the season-opening series Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 2 pm.