TAMPA, Fla. – For the second straight game, the University of Tampa broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run inning, this time in the second, and the Spartans went on to a 13-5 non-conference win over Bentley University in college baseball at the UT Baseball Field on Sunday.
The four-run second was ignited by two hit batters and a wild pitch to start the inning. Junior second baseman Ty Cooler (Lutz, Fla.) followed with a two-run single through the left side, giving the preseason number one team in Division II a 3-1 lead. Following another walk and a pitching change, junior shortstop Cody deNoyelles (Windemere, Fla.) doubled down the left field line to bring in two more runs.
Tampa broke the game wide open with six runs in the fifth, combining five hits with two Falcon errors. Junior pinch-hitter Zion Bell (Lafayette, Ind.) delivered a bases-loaded triple and junior third baseman Nick Flair (Belle Chasse, La.) slammed a two-run homer.
Bentley's first run of the afternoon came in the second, tying the game at 1-1. Junior shortstop Zachary Littman (Abington, Mass./Abington HS) led off with a single through the right side, stole second, advanced on a grounder to second and scored on a sacrifice fly by junior catcher Bryan Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth HS).
The Falcons, 0-2, picked up two runs in the sixth inning. Consecutive singles by freshman second baseman Mike Samko (Arlington, Mass./BB&N), junior center fielder Mike Muir (Bridgewater, Mass./ Xaverian Bros. HS) and senior right fielder Tom Nagy (Fairfield, Conn./Ludlowe HS) loaded the bases and Samko scored on Littman's grounder back to the pitcher. Later in the inning, Muir scored on a Rocha grounder to short, making it 11-3 at the time.
In the ninth, Bentley scored its final two runs. Samko picked up an RBI on an infield single and a fielder's choice by Nagy scored another.
Bentley's nine hits included three by Muir, who is five of eight to start the season. Samko and Littman each had two.
Eleven different players combined for Tampa's 13 hits, with Cooler leading the offense with two hits, three runs scored and three RBI.
Senior lefty Chase Sparkman (Brandon, Fla.) earned the win for the 2-0 Spartans as he limited the Falcons to two hits and one run over the first five innings. He walked only one and struck out six.
The two teams will conclude the three-game season-opening series Monday afternoon at 3 pm.