Sunshine State Showdown Looms as Baseball Closes

After being drowned by the Nova Southeastern Sharks, the Spartans out-fought the Lynn Fighting Knights, improving their overall Sunshine State Conference record to 6-3.

The University of Tampa remains in the hunt for the SSC conference championship with a strong record against conference opponents.

NSU starter Miles Mikolas tossed a complete game and struck out 11 UT batters.
Tampa dropped game one of the series by a score of 5-1.

‘Your first goal is to win the conference,’ head coach Joe Urso said. ‘When you win the conference you get an automatic bid into the regional tournament.’

‘When you lose two out of three to a team that is that group [battling for a tournament bid] they look at head-to-head. It could hurt you. That is the ultimate tie-breaker,’ Urso added.
Urso preaches the importance of winning a three-game series to his team.

‘That gives you the edge to get into the tournament without winning your conference,’ he said.

After one non-conference win, UT returned to conference play, traveling to Lynn University to take on the Fighting Knights.

Tampa took the Friday night fight behind starter Danny Keefe.

Keefe gave up just two runs and struck out seven through six innings of play.

The following Saturday featured a double header between the Spartans and the Knights.
The Spartans handled Lynn with a 10-3 win in the first game.

Tampa starting pitcher John Wiedenbauer tossed five innings, earning his fifth win of the season.

Alex Koronis picked up his fourth save of the season, allowing one run and striking out six Knights while working a four inning save.

UT lost the second game in extra innings by the score of 5-4.

Urso is not completely sure of the pending conference stretch, as many teams could pose problems for UT as they venture through this long stint.

The team faces Florida Southern, which has traditionally been the biggest rivalry of the season.

Urso recognized that both programs are at constant odds for the top spot in the conference.

The Spartans will end the regular season on the road at Barry and Florida Southern.
Urso believes that the top three teams are ‘Barry, Southern and Tampa, in that order.’
UT does not plan on backing down as they take on these top teams.

‘I like that,’ Urso said. ‘We will be in control of our own destiny.’

Urso is at the helm of a young team and has to constantly remind his men to stay on top of their opponents.

‘Pressure is playing against Tampa,’ Urso said.

In order to stay on top and capture the conference title UT’s young players will need to get any fear out of their mind.

‘You respect all of your opponents, but you never fear them,’ Urso added.

Kyle Bennett can be reached at

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