2013 NCAA II Baseball National Finals - Game Eight: No. 1 Tampa Defeats No. 4 St. Edward's 10-3
Jake Schrader belted his second home run of the tournament and all nine Tampa starters hit safely for the second straight game as the nationally top-ranked Spartans remained unbeaten with a 10-3 victory over No. 4 St. Edward's in a winner's bracket game in the 2013 NCAA Division II Baseball National Finals Sunday at Cary, N.C. The National Finals are co-hosted by Town of Cary and Mount Olive College at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
Tampa (45-11) is off until Thursday at 3 p.m. and will face the winner of Wednesday's Grand Valley State-Franklin Pierce game. St. Edward's takes on Grand Canyon Wednesday at 7 p.m. in an elimination game. The Hilltoppers defeated Grand Canyon 1-0 Sunday in the first round.
Tampa jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second as Sean O'Brien was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. One out later, Schrader lined a 1-1 pitch over the left field fence to put the Spartans on top. Schrader, who has homered in four consecutive games and increased his season total to 10, became the first player to hit at least two home runs in the National Finals since the tournament moved to Cary in 2009.
Tampa's eight and nine batters combined to drive in a pair of runs in the fourth as the Spartans scored in each of the final six innings. Adam Pendleton brought home a run with a double off the left field wall and Jacob Tillotson singled through the right side to plate another run as Tampa extended its lead to 4-0.
B.J. Zimmerman singled in a run in the fifth and a St. Edward's error led to two more Spartan runs in the sixth. Michael Danner walked with the bases loaded in the seventh and Zach Gawrych singled in a run in the eighth.
Tampa starter Ben Brown (6-0) pitched seven-plus innings to match a career high for longest outing and held the Hilltoppers scoreless until running into trouble in the eighth. Brown allowed a leadoff single to Joe Pirozzolo and was lifted for reliever Preston Packrall after hitting a batter. A groundout advanced the runners and pinch-hitter Beau Rogers got St. Edward's on the scoreboard with a two-run single up the middle.
Brown allowed five hits and struck out four.
St. Edward's starter Brad Nasis (4-1) went four innings and took the loss. Offensively, Nate Bobrowski had three hits and scored a run in the ninth.
Tampa's first eight hits came from eight different batters and leadoff batter Connor Obrochta became the ninth starter to get a hit with a single in the ninth. Gawrych and Tyler Ding had two hits apiece for the Spartans. Tampa collected 11 hits Tuesday after opening the tournament with 12 runs on 16 hits in Sunday's first round win over Coker.
"(Jake) Schrader's home run was a big boost for us, to get us up 2-0 in a game that we all knew how important it was to stay in the winner's bracket. I felt like (Ben) Brown just took over from there. He was pounding the ball away, had a good slider going and was freezing guys in late. That was the longest he has gone all year and he told me a couple days ago that he was going to give me seven strong. "
Tampa head coach Joe Urso
"It takes pressure off, but you still have to pitch like it's a one-run game. It's the 'World Series,' anything can happen here when you are facing a really good team."
Tampa starting pitcher Ben Brown on pitching with a lead
"I close my eyes and swing in case I hit it. I don't know, it's just trying to stay with a short approach. Obviously I was trying to hit to the big part of the field, but the ball seems to carry a little better to left. It's all about getting the W. It's great to hit home runs, but it's a team effort. We never settle, we always want more. Once we get on top of someone, it just feeds us."
Tampa third baseman Jake Schrader, who homered for the second consecutive game at the National Finals and fourth consecutive game in the NCAA Tournament