Miles Golden Bears Fall To Tampa In South Region NCAA DII Opener

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CLEVELAND, Miss. – For five innings, Miles looked like a team that was capable of shocking the college baseball establishment by pulling a monumental upset of No. 7-ranked Tampa in the opening game of the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament.

But a sixth inning ambush by the Spartans put an end to any dreams of grandeur. A five-run frame – with three of those runs unearned – gave Tampa (38-12), the No. 2 seed in the regional, all the space it would need in a 12-1 win over the No. 7-seed Golden Bears (31-22) at Ferriss Field Thursday afternoon. The Golden Bears will now face West Alabama – a 20-5 loser to Nova Southeastern – in an elimination game Friday at 11 a.m.

Matthew White (1-6) pitched well in the loss, allowing six runs and seven hits in five innings but mostly keeping the Spartans off-balance enough to give the Golden Bears a chance to stay within striking distance. Problem was, Miles had trouble striking the ball. The Spartans allowed just three hits and none until the fifth inning.

Two walks led to a 2-0 lead for the Spartans in the second but Miles came back in the fourth. With one out, Peyton Logan was hit by a pitch and Alex Bentley walked. A wild pitch advanced them a base and Logan would score on a ground out by Kolby Brannon. Damion Williams, though, would strike out with the tying run left on third. Tampa would stretch the lead in the bottom of the frame, scoring four times with two outs. The big hit was a two-run triple by Vin Cosenzo that made the score 6-1.

Miles would get back-to-back singles in the fifth from Justin Bisharat and Trevor Bates with the top of the order coming up. But Reeves Brashear and Xavius Burden sandwiched a Ryan Bargery fly out with strikeouts to end the Golden Bears final decent scoring chance. The flood gates broke open in the sixth against reliever Christopher Elias. After having trouble squaring up White, the Spartans jumped all over Elias with the big blow coming on a two-run home run by Chris Gaffney that made the score 11-1 and took the air out of Miles’ sails.

Brannon had the Golden Bears only other hit, a single in the sixth, as Tampa retired the last 10 Miles batters. Morgan Johnson got the final out in the eighth, a strikeout of Richie Rivera – after relieving Elias.

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