Santa Leads No. 2 Tampa to 8-1 Win over Bentley

Evan Walsh
Evan Walsh

TAMPA, Fla. -- Senior shortstop Kevin Santa (Yabucoa, P.R.) had three hits, four RBI and six total bases as the University of Tampa, ranked second nationally in Division II, pulled away late for an 8-1 win over Bentley University in non-conference college baseball Saturday night at the UT Baseball Field.

The Spartans broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the fifth inning. Junior left fielder Connor Crile (Anthony, Fla.) tripled to center and scored on a single in the same direction by junior center fielder Richie Rivera (St. Petersburg, Fla.). Later in the inning, an infield single by Santa made it a 3-1 game.

Tampa (2-0) opened the game up with four runs in the seventh with Santa clearing the bases with a triple to right center after three straight walks to open the inning. Senior second baseman Laz Rivera (Miami, Fla.) followed with a sacrifice fly to score Santa with the Spartans' seventh run.

The only run for 0-2 Bentley was scored in the top of the fourth.  Freshman center fielder Luke Figueira (Taunton, Mass./Taunton) doubled down the left field line, advanced on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch.

Tampa pitchers Jordan Leasure (Tampa, Fla.) and Colton Widdows (Palm Harbor, Fla.) combined on a three-hitter with 13 strikeouts. Leasure,  a righty who earned the win, allowed two hits and struck out eight in five innings. The left-handed Widdows followed with four scoreless innings and fanned five.

Senior Evan Walsh (Arlington, Mass./Arlington Catholic HS) started for Bentley and gave up three hits and one hit in his three innings of work.

In addition to the three hits from Santa, Tampa's 11 hits included two apiece from senior catcher Adrian Cachon (Tampa, Fla.) and Richie Rivera.

The two teams will complete their season-opening series Sunday at noon.