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Albany State drops opening game in NCAA Baseball Playoffs

May 18, 2006

Tampa, Fla. - The Albany State University Golden Rams opened the NCAA South Baseball Regional with a 14-0 loss to the nation's top team and #1 seed the University of Tampa.

Tampa's Nick Peterson retired the Albany State hitters in order in the top of the first. Then Tampa got its shot to make a good first impression at the plate. After both Ryan Kennedy and Craig Corrado flied out to center, Orlando Rosales reached first, drawing a walk. Next to the plate was the SSC Player of the Year, Lee Cruz. Cruz fought Albany State's starting pitcher, Brandon Griffin to a full count, then reached across the plate to hit a one-handed two-run homerun to left field against the wind.

Jose Jimenez reached first on a goofy play as the next batter. He hit the ball on a check swing down the first baseline for an apparent easy third out, but the balled bounced off the bag and over the head of the first baseman, for a single. Billy Wimberly, last week's SSC Player of the Week, then roped a triple to the right center gap, driving in Jimenez for the third and final run of the inning.

Peterson again set the Golden Rams down in order in the second. Troy Ferguson led off the bottom of the second with a triple to center, and scored on the next pitch as Kennedy single to left. After Kennedy stole second and advanced to third on a ground out he was driven in by Cruz, who singled to left collecting his third RBI of the game. SSC Freshman of the Year, Jimenez hit his 16th homerun of the season to right. Tampa led after two, 7-0.

Peterson, allowed a walk to Albany State designated hitter Floyd Patterson, with one out in the third. However, the next play found Patterson taking off on the pitch for second as Anthony Clay hit a line-drive to center. Rosales caught the fly ball but Patterson had already rounded second and didn't have enough time to get back to first to avoid the inning ending double play. After three innings pitched, Peterson had faced the minimum, striking out four.

The Golden Rams picked up their first hit of the contest as Tyrone Mingle hit a line-drive single to right, with two out in the top of the fourth.

Tampa was able to manage two walks in each the third and fourth innings, and one in the fifth, but were unable to convert those free passes into runs.

The top of the fifth saw Albany State load the bases against Peterson before he was replaced by Jordan Williams. Williams threw a ball in the dirt, getting away from the catcher. Rosenbaum hustled to corral the ball and made a perfect throw home where Williams was covering to nail Patterson, who was trying to score on the wild pitch. Williams struck out the batter on the next pitch to end the inning.

With the bases full of Spartans in the bottom of the sixth, pinch-hitter JR Hopf smacked a curve-ball to the right-center gap, clearing the bases. Mena and Ferguson both reached on base on balls and then Kennedy hit a sacrifice fly to left, allowing Hopf to score. Earlier in the frame Wimbley drew a bases loaded walk, collecting his second RBI as Corrado scored. With five runs in the sixth, Tampa led 12-0.

Pinch-hitter, Jamie McKean came to the plate in the seventh, with Kyle Frontz on third and hit a long fly ball to center, deep enough for the runner to tag and score the 13th run of the game.

With his first homerun of the season, Charlie Raley pushed the Spartan lead to 14, in the eighth.

With his first post-season start as a pitcher for the Spartans, Peterson tossed 5.1 innings allowing no runs on only two hits and striking out eight batters in earning his third victory of the season. Chris Whitney threw the seventh and eighth innings and Justin Valdes closed out the game, giving up only a walk.

 

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