tampabay.com

Second chance gets Spartans to Series

By BRYAN BURNS
Published May 21, 2007


TAMPA - After watching his team lose 7-0 to Florida Southern, forcing a rematch later Sunday, coach Joe Urso believed watching highlights of Tampa's run to the 2006 Division II national title would motivate his players.

The VCR promptly fizzled out, and for a while, it appeared the Spartans' chances of repeating would do so as well.

But after squandering a 5-1 lead, Tampa won the South Region tournament 8-5 on Jose Jimenez's three-run homer in the 10th inning.

The Spartans advanced to the World Series in Montgomery, Ala., where they open against Cal State Los Angeles on Friday.

"They were kind of laughing at me, and I think they started relaxing a little bit, " Urso said about the malfunctioning VCR. "They started realizing how close we were."

In Game 1, Florida Southern's Jeremy Thorne allowed four hits in a complete game.

Jonathan Holt, who recorded saves in Tampa's first three wins of the tournament, started Game 2 and got through four innings with a 2-1 lead. And Tampa scored three in the top of the fifth. But Kevin Ferguson, who threw 107 pitches Saturday, allowed two runs in the bottom half and Scott Leffler two in the sixth as Florida Southern tied it.

It stayed that way until the 10th. Charlie Raley led off with a walk, and Chris Rosenbaum was hit. Jimenez failed to get a bunt down, but then he sent a 3-and-2 pitch over the fence in right.

Anthony Perez got the win with five scoreless innings.

Gators reach softball Super Region

GAINESVILLE - Stacey Nelson allowed three hits and Florida broke through in the ninth to beat Texas 3-0 and advance to its first softball Super Region.

Florida went unbeaten in the double-elimination region and heads to Texas A&M for a best-of-three series. The winner goes to the World Series. Game 1 is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Game 2 at 2 p.m. Saturday and Game 3, if needed, immediately afterward. ESPN will air each game.

Nelson struck out eight and allowed two runners past first. She finally got help in the ninth.

Meagan Denny hit Lauren Roussell to start. Melissa Zick, a graduate of Chamberlain High in Tampa, then hit a run-scoring double. Ali Gardiner doubled home Zick. Two outs later, Lacy Howard's double made it 3-0.

"(Zick) came up with as big of a hit as we've ever had in this program's history, " Florida coach Tim Walton said. "It was a big-time atmosphere, and I'm really proud of the way we handled ourselves throughout the game."

OTHER SUPER REGION MATCHUPS: Cal State Fullerton at Arizona; Michigan at Baylor; Hawaii at Tennessee; DePaul at Oklahoma; Alabama at Washington; LSU at Arizona State and South Carolina at Northwestern.

Women's tennis: UCLA ousts Florida

ATHENS, Ga. - Senior Alex McGoodwin beat freshman Csilla Borsanyi in a second-set tiebreaker to clinch UCLA's 4-3 victory over Florida in the NCAA quarterfinals.

The Bruins got the doubles point and wins from Yasmin Schnack and Elizabeth Lumpkin for a 3-0 lead. The Gators tied it on wins by Megan Alexander, Nina Suvak and Diana Srebrovic (taking the third set 7-5). After losing the first set 6-4, Borsanyi escaped three match points to force the tiebreaker.

But McGoodwin earned a minibreak to lead 3-1 and went on to win 7-4. "Csilla put fourth a Herculean effort, " UF coach Roland Thornqvist said. "But McGoodwin found a way to hit big serves and big volleys in the clutch."

BASEBALL: Top-seeded Florida State faces No. 8 Wake Forest (7 p.m. Wednesday), No. 5 Miami (7 Friday) and No. 4 Clemson (4 Saturday) in pool play for this week's ACC tournament in Jacksonville. Under the new format, the top eight teams are divided into two pools. After a round robin, the winners meet in the final at 1 Sunday. No. 2 North Carolina, No. 3 Virginia, No. 6 N.C. State and No. 7 Georgia Tech are in the other pool.

LACROSSE: A year after rape charges (since dismissed) halted its season, Duke beat North Carolina 19-11 in Annapolis, Md., to reach the national semifinals. It faces Cornell on Saturday, and Johns Hopkins faces Delaware.

Information from Times wires contributed to this report.