TAMPA, Fla. – Behind six home runs, including three from the bat of Garrett Maines, the 13th-ranked University of Tampa Spartans took both games of a Sunshine State Conference doubleheader against the Saint Leo baseball team and in doing so, claimed the series 2-1 after they responded from a 13-3 Lion win last night. Tampa came back from an 8-0 deficit to take game one 15-13 and then posted a 13-5 victory in game two.
Kyle Hobbs took the first pitch of the game over the left field wall and the Lions added six runs in the second before UT reliever Daniel Foltz entered the game to cool the Saint Leo bats.
After the SLU bats cooled off, the UT bats caught fire as Tampa stroked 10 runs in just two innings and scored 12 unanswered runs to take a 12-8 lead into the seventh.
Foltz held the Lions scoreless through the sixth before leaving with bases loaded in the seventh. Saint Leo tied the ballgame in the inning but Alex Koronis (4-1) got the win for Tampa as the Spartans wasted no time in regaining the lead in the bottom of the frame.
Tampa jumped on reliever Matt Smith (4-3) and scored three more runs to take a 15-12 lead and put the game away for good.
The second contest was not nearly as suspenseful, or as long, as Tampa jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and pushed it to as much as 10-2 heading into the fifth frame.
The Lions plated three runs in the fifth inning, two runs coming off of a deep home run to center field by Hobbs, his second round-tripper of the day, which cut the deficit to just 10-5. As they did in the opener, the Spartans again answered the Lions with three runs over the course of the next two innings to put away the game two win, and claim the series.
Aaron Brandt (0-5) picked up the loss for the Lions while A.J. Pinera (2-2) tossed four innings to get the victory. Carmine Giardina came in and tossed three innings of relief to pick up the save, his first of the season.
The Lions will now take a break from conference play as they host Flagler College in a three game series which will get underway on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m.