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Spartans lose twice to miss out on title

Florida Southern defeats Tampa 4-3 and 3-1 to advance to the World Series.

By ROD GIPSON

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 19, 2002


Florida Southern defeats Tampa 4-3 and 3-1 to advance to the World Series.

TAMPA -- The line on Tampa starting pitcher Casey McKenzie was impressive. In six innings, the sophomore right-hander allowed two hits and struck out a personal-best 11 batters.

But one inning Saturday night sealed his fate as Florida Southern beat UT 3-1 in the NCAA Division II South Region championship game.

Southern advances to the Division II World Series beginning Saturday in Montgomerie, Ala.

The Mocs' win capped a big turnaround, after a 13-4 loss to UT on Friday. They beat the Spartans 4-3 in the early game Saturday, forcing a deciding game Saturday night.

"We had opportunities early," UT coach Joe Urso said. "We had chances in the first and second inning and we let them off the ropes."

After UT took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, Florida Southern struck for two in the fourth. A Justin Hancock single to rightfield scored Jeff Lucas to tie it. Moments later, Florida Southern took the lead when Hancock scored on a passed ball.

The Moccasins added another run in the seventh to complete their scoring.

As solid as McKenzie was for the Spartans, Brian Reves was equally strong for Florida Southern. In his first start of the season, Reves pitched seven innings, allowing two hits and striking out four.

In the first game, the Spartans got an inside-the-park homer by Neal Maybin, but a three-run sixth inning lifted the Mocs.

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