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NCAA Div II Baseball Championships: South Regional
Tampa 5, Stillman 3

May 17, 2007

(TAMPA, Fla.)Three runs in the top of the eighth inning would not be enough to help Stillman expunge three critical errors that helped University of Tampa notch a 5-3 victory in the first round of the NCAA Division II South Regional Thursday afternoon.

Stillman (26-20) will now play Florida Southern, Friday at 11:00 a.m.

“We did exactly what we thought we could do,” Stillman manager Donny Crawford said. “I knew we could get in here and play this team the way we needed to, but we can’t beat the defending national champions by making errors.

“We pitched well and we out hit ‘em, but we let opportunities get away from us by giving them those runs.”

The Tigers, behind the arms Joseph Woodley and Andrew Brown, out hit their opponents 8-to-7, but committed three errors in the final four innings while Tampa committed none.

Tampa got the game’s first run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Roberto Mena blasted a shot over the left field fence to give Tampa a 1-0 lead. The Spartans’ Chris Rosenbaum led off the fifth inning with a walk and later scored on a Nolan Brannon double to right center. Junior Mejia then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but a throwing error by Joseph Woodley allowed him to reach second with Brannon scoring on the play.  Tampa’s Craig Corrado then doubled in Mejia to left field to give Tampa a 4-0 advantage. 

Tampa would pick-up another run in the bottom of the sixth when Troy Ferguson scored off a throwing error by Michael Lewis, giving the Spartans a 5-0 cushion after six.

Stillman, however, managed to get on the board and stir-up some trouble in the top of the eighth. Back-to-back singles by Jack Hazelrig and Sean Blair gave Lewis a chance for redemption as he delivered a single through the infield to drive in Stillman’s first run. After Marcus Whitfield reached on a fielder’s choice, Clay Gilliam then drove in two on a single up the middle. Tampa led 5-3 after eight.

The Tigers went down in order in the ninth inning as Tampa’s Jonathan Holt earned his 17th save of the season.

Stillman’s Joseph Woodley (4-4) recorded the loss, pitching 5.0 innings and allowing four hits and two earned runs. Andrew Brown tossed the final 3.0 innings for the Tigers, while allowing only one earned run and three hits.

“I think our guys may have been nervous early-on, playing against the national champs on their home field,” Crawford said. “But when they finally realized that they can play with them, we started scoring runs and making outs, but it was too little, too late. But we’ll be OK.”


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