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Tampa routs Franklin Pierce, will play for Division II title
By TIMES WIRES
Published June 2, 2006
The University of Tampa baseball team will attempt to capture the program's fourth national championship as the top-ranked Spartans advanced to the NCAA Division II title game by defeating Franklin Pierce 13-3 on Thursday.
Lee Cruz homered twice, a two-run shot in the first inning and a grand slam in the top of the sixth that put the Spartans up 9-0. The shot was Cruz's 26th home run, the most in Division II this season and eclipsing the school season record of 25 set by Tino Martinez in 1988. Cruz finished with six RBIs, bringing his season total to 97.
J.R. Hopf added a home run in the fourth to back the sterling pitching effort of Tampa starter Sergio Perez (11-2), who went seven innings, allowing three runs, two earned, while walking one and striking out nine. Nick Peterson and Craig Brenner each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
Franklin Pierce went through six pitchers as UT recorded double-digit hits for the sixth time in seven postseason games. Craig Corrado led the hit parade, going 3-for-5 while scoring twice.
"Everybody's feeling great," Spartans coach Joe Urso said. "Sergio was awesome, and to come out today and swing bats like we did is a big boost. It's great to have the players going into the championship game mentally feeling good about their swing."
Arric Mather took the loss, allowing six runs on 10 hits over five innings.
The Spartans (53-6) head into Saturday's title game against Cal State Chico (46-20) riding an 18-game win steak. The game will be broadcast live on Catch 47 at 8 p.m.
CAL STATE CHICO 9, MONTEVALLO 5:
The Wildcats rallied twice and pulled away with three runs in the ninth to gain a berth in the national finals for the first time since 2002.
Daniel Code went 2-for-4 with a home run for the winners. Ben Buker got his second win of the tournament, allowing six hits and six walks in six innings.
GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD:
North Carolina pitcher Andrew Miller, who won 11 games, is one of five finalists for the honor as the top amateur in the country. Washington pitcher Tim Lincecum, Long Beach State third baseman Evan Longoria, Vanderbilt pitcher David Price and Texas outfielder Drew Stubbs are the other finalists announced by USA Baseball. The award will be presented June 23.
Nicholson will meet with Tallahassee police
A.J. Nicholson is scheduled to return to Florida on Saturday to meet with the Tallahassee police in connection with the theft of more than $1,700 from former FSU football teammate Lorenzo Booker and his roommates.
Tallahassee police obtained an arrest warrant for Nicholson on suspicion of burglary of a dwelling and grand theft, both felonies, and criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.
Mike Jaskulski, who spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach at Florida State, has joined UCF as associate men's head coach under Kirk Speraw.
UCF junior Krystina Sarff (Bloomingdale) received Pocock All-America second-team recognition from the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association. Sarff was a member of the Golden Knights' varsity eight boat that earned the first national ranking (No. 19) in school history.
USF's Tiffany Stewart was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Third Team. The senior, in garnering academic honors for the second straight year, has compiled a 3.72 grade point average in psychology while leading the team in runs scored (42), RBIs (49) and walks (29).
Florida shot 3-under 285 to climb to fourth (7-under 569) at the Division I men's tournament in Sunriver, Ore. Washington (13-under 563) leads heading into today's third round. Brett Stegmaier's 4-under 67 moved him into a tie for 10th individually at 5-under 140.