Defending National Champs Up-End Sailfish in Weekend Opener
February 8, 2008
TAMPA, Fla.- Looking to repeat history from a year ago which saw the Palm Beach Atlantic University baseball team defeat the University of Tampa, the Sailfish couldn’t hold down the potent Spartans offense as the #1-ranked UT baseball team powered their way to an 11-3 victory over the Fish on Friday night.
The Spartans (4-0) jumped out with a 2-0 lead in the first inning as leadoff hitter and right-fielder Brian Cruz delivered a triple to start the bottom half of the first inning for UT. Cruz would come around to score on a one-out double by Nolan Brannon who himself would score on the next play as Jose Jimenez doubled to give the Spartans the early lead.
PBA would strike for their first run of the evening off Tampa starting pitcher Kevin Ferguson (1-0) when designated-hitter Tony Livelsberger led off the second inning with a solo homerun, his first of the season. The Sailfish would briefly tie the game in the second inning with Scott Urbanek (Weston, Fla.) coming around to score after advancing into scoring position on a one-out double. Senior Zach Grau (Kalamazoo, Mich.) delivered the RBI single.
Jose Jimenez put UT on top for good in the bottom of the third inning with a long homerun to right-center. This homerun appeared to jump-start the Spartans offense as they continued to pad their lead in the middle innings with four runs in the fourth, and three more runs in the later innings.
PBA senior Owen Grau (Kalamazoo, Mich.) took the mound for head coach Rob Avila in the opener while totaling six innings of work, allowing 11 hits and eight earned runs while registering three strikeouts while dropping to 0-2 on the season. Peter Rodriguez (Miami, Fla.) and Dustin Ducasse (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) each completed an inning in relief for the Fish.
Double-play partners Mariano Jimenez (Bradenton, Fla.) and Billy Falconio (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) paced the seven-hit attack for PBA by both going 2-4 at the plate in the weekend opener. Falconio delivered an RBI single in the ninth inning that scored Jimenez.
PBA will return to the UT Baseball Field on Saturday for a scheduled double-header of action between the two schools. First pitch is slated for 1 pm.