TAMPA - As the University of Tampa heads to the NCAA Division II South Region baseball tournament, it does so with the Sunshine State Conference Player of the Month.
UT senior infielder Matt Armstrong led the Spartans to a 14-3 mark in April. The Spartans were 5-1 in the SSC, moving them into a second-place finish. Armstrong batted .429 for the month, scored 11 and drove in 17. He posted a .993 fielding percentage despite playing three positions.
Armstrong leads the conference in home runs with 12 for the season, seven of which came in April.
"Matt has had a huge month offensively, hitting some big home runs when we needed them," coach Joe Urso said. "His run production has been unparalleled, while also playing excellent defense wherever we have asked him to play. His production has helped us solidify a spot in the regional."
Armstrong, who also won the SSC Player of the Week award during the last week of April, finished the regular season batting .356 and had 16 doubles and 37 RBIs.
SOFTBALL: The Spartans went 2-2 during their trip to the NCAA Division II South Region last week in Lakeland. UT had wins against West Florida and Benedict (S.C.) but lost 3-2 to top seed and host Florida Southern before being eliminated by No.2 seed Alabama-Huntsville 3-0 on the tournament's second day. Florida Southern took the tournament title to advance to the Division II Championships. UT finished the season 33-14.
UT had five players named to the All-Sunshine State Conference Softball team. Senior infielders Becky Testin and Lacinda Norman were named All-SSC first team. Testin, an infielder and pitcher, hit .327 and went 13-4 on the mound. Norman, a second baseman, hit .354.
Spartans first baseman Kristin Law was named to the second team. A junior, Law led UT with a .361 average, five home runs and 34 RBIs. Sophomore catcher Katie Bender and standout freshman pitcher Devlin Dougherty were named honorable mention. Bender started 43 games for the Spartans, hit 10 doubles and drove in 28 runs. Dougherty became UT's No.1 pitcher, going 18-8 with a 0.94 ERA. She had a staff-best 187 strikeouts and eight shutouts.
MAYOR'S CUP: While UT finished in the middle of the pack, Rollins College won both the men's division and the women's divisions of the SSC Mayor's Cup for the second consecutive year. An all-sports competition in which points are awarded based on teams' finish in the respective sports, the cup last went to UT in 1992-93, when both the men and women won.
This season, the Rollins men earned 35.5 points, defeating second-place Florida Southern (30.5). Lynn (29.5), Barry (29), UT (21), Eckerd (14.5), Florida Tech (13.5) and Saint Leo (13.5) rounded out the standings.
In the women's division, Rollins claimed first place with 42 points, edging second-place Florida Southern (40.5). Barry (37.5), UT (34), Florida Tech (27), Lynn (21.5), Saint Leo (16) and Eckerd (15.5) completed the standings.