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UT loses in Division II baseball 4-0

Tribune correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: May 31, 2013 at 06:35 AM
CARY, N.C. -

The University of Tampa baseball team may have been a confident bunch heading into Thursday’s Division II College World Series semifinal against Grand Valley State. But coach Joe Urso had a bad feeling as soon as he saw the name of Lakers pitcher Kyle Teague on the lineup card.

Urso’s premonition turned into reality less than two hours later, when Teague did what no one else in this year’s NCAA tournament had come close to doing before by silencing the Spartans’ big bats.

The senior right-hander didn’t just shut down a UT lineup that has averaged nearly 11 runs a game in postseason play, he shut it out on five hits for a 4-0 victory that prevented UT from clinching a spot in the national championship game.

The teams will meet again today at the USA Baseball Training Complex, with the winner advancing to Saturday’s final against either Minnesota State Mankato or St. Edward’s.

“This Teague kid has done this to us before,” Urso said. “Two years ago, when he was at Valdosta State, he did the same thing to us. We were familiar with him, and he pitched a lot like he did two years ago.”

The top-ranked Spartans (45-12) struck out eight times and never seriously threatened to score. They advanced only two runners past first base all day against Teague — in the fifth on a one-out double by No. 9 hitter Jacob Tillotson and again in the seventh after a two-out single by Adam Pendleton and a walk to Tillotson.

“We’ve been swinging it good. Everybody’s been hot the first two games,” Tillotson said. “I didn’t expect this.”

Grand Valley (38-18) scored all the runs it would need in the top of the second when Giancarlo Brugnoni led off with a double and scored on a two-out single by Jesse Abel. It was the only earned run scored against UT starter Brad Hencke, who took the loss despite pitching nine solid innings.

The Lakers broke the game open in the third after Spartans right fielder Zach Gawrych lost Brugnoni’s routine fly ball in the sun. Two runs scored on the play, which would have been the third out. Another scored when Jamie Potts followed with a single for what turned out to be the game’s final run.

“At the last minute, I kind of lost sight of it,” Gawrych said. “The bottom line is it should have been a catch.”

The way Teague was pitching, it may not have mattered.

“Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to a pitcher that comes out and does what he did,” Urso said. “Teague dictated every at-bat and did a really good job of keeping our hitters off balance.”

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