Spartans get closer to Series title game

Published May 28, 2007

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Ro-berto Mena went 4-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs to lead Tampa past Nebraska-Omaha 9-2 at the Division II World Series on Sunday.

The Spartans, who beat Cal State Los Angeles 13-5 on Friday, are a win away from the final and a shot at their second straight title. Los Angeles, which ousted Kutztown 4-1 in the day's first game, faces Nebraska-Omaha on Tuesday.

Tampa faces the winner at 7:30 Wednesday, getting two chances to win once.

Mena doubled in a run in the first; walked and scored during a three-run third; singled and scored in a three-run fifth; hit a two-run homer in the sixth that made it 9-2 and singled in the eighth.

Durant High graduate Ross Jackson allowed 10 hits but only two runs in seven innings for Tampa. He struck out six and walked none.

FSU to host regional

The road to Omaha and the College World Series again will wind through Tallahassee.

Florida State (47-11), despite losing its last two games at the ACC tournament, was named one of 16 hosts of a first-round regional, guaranteeing a 30th consecutive tournament berth. From 1986-2005, FSU hosted 18 times and advanced 15 times.

The four-team, double-elimination regionals are scheduled for Friday through June 4. The winners go to the best-of-three Super Regionals, and those winners go to the World Series.

Other hosts are: Arizona State, Arkansas, Coastal Carolina, Long Beach State, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Rice, San Diego, South Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wichita State. The rest of the field is scheduled to be announced at 12:30 today on ESPN.

SEC: Vanderbilt scored four in the first (three unearned) to beat Arkansas 7-4 in the final in Hoover, Ala. The Commodores, who won five in a row after losing their opener, earned their first title since 1980.

ACC: Josh Horton's eighth-inning triple drove in the winning run as North Carolina beat Wake Forest 3-2 in the final in Jacksonville. The Tar Heels lost their first game but won their last three for their first title since 1990.

SOFTBALL: Visiting DePaul (7-2 over Oklahoma) and host Arizona (2-1 over Cal State Fullerton) capped sweeps of Super Regionals to advance to the World Series. The double-elimination event (with a best-of-three final) begins Thursday in Oklahoma City. First-round matchups are: Arizona vs. Baylor; Northwestern vs. Arizona State; DePaul vs. Washington and Texas A&M vs. Tennessee.

Northwestern wins another lacrosse title

PHILADELPHIA - Hilary Bowen's five goals helped Northwestern defeat Virginia 15-13 and become the second to win three consecutive women's lacrosse titles. Maryland won seven from 1995-2001.

The Wildcats, unbeaten since a 9-8 double-overtime loss in the opener at North Carolina, are 62-2 over the past three seasons.

Down 11-5 in the first half, the Cavaliers, who lost to the Wildcats in the 2005 final, got it to 14-13 with 10:21 left on Megan OMalley's third goal. But Katrina Dowd scored her third with 2:29 left to seal it.

PORTER DIES: Howard Porter, one of the best basketball players in Villanova history, died Saturday night after he was found beaten in an alley May 19 in Minneapolis. He was 58. Porter was a probation officer, but police said it is unclear if the beating was related. Porter was a three-time All-American and the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player in leading the Wildcats to the 1971 final, where they lost 68-62 to UCLA. But the award and Villanova's run was vacated because he had been dealing with an agent.

Times staff writer Brian Landman contributed to this report.