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Tampa splits doubleheader on Sunday

LIVINGSTON, Ala. – The top-ranked University of Tampa baseball team split Sunday afternoon’s games, defeating No. 12 West Alabama 7-2 and dropping their second matchup against No. 19 Southern Arkansas by a score of 8-3. The split moves the Spartans to 6-3 on the season, while the Tigers also fall to 6-3 and the Muleriders to 7-3.

After falling behind in an early 2-0 hole, Tampa starter John Wiedenbauer rebounded with four scoreless innings, walking one batter and striking out eight. The Spartans slowly chipped away at the early deficit, first with Devin Gonzalez’s RBI double to drive in shortstop Jesus Barroso, who went 3-5 in the game and then with some small ball tied the game at 2-all.

A solo home run from Nick Nordgren gave the Spartans their first lead of the afternoon. Tampa would not relinquish the lead as reliever A.J. Pinera threw four scoreless innings to pick up the victory. Pinera struck out five and walked none while allowing just two hits.

UT added insurance in the eighth when Casey Albanese laid a squeeze bunt down the third base line, scoring Mike Schwartz from third. In the ninth, Barroso, Schwartz, and Steven Broschofsky blasted back-to-back-to-back home runs to seal the win.

In the second contest, Tampa fell behind in the first again when Southern Arkansas’ Cannon Lester popped a two-run homer over the left field wall off starter Carmine Giardina. Tampa would eventually tie the game thanks in part to a Jose Jimenez solo home run and a Schwartz single to score catcher Garrett Maines.

The Spartans appeared to gain momentum until and four-run Muleriders’ eighth when, after a bases loaded walk, an error cleared the bases and gave SAU a 7-3 lead. The Muleriders added another run in the top of the ninth with a home run off the bat of Dane Lucas.

Tampa will head to Eckerd College on Friday at 7 p.m. before returning to Tampa for two double headers against the Stillman College Tigers.

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