The No.1 ranked University of Tampa baseball team made history today as they shut down the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field in Clearwater. The game kicked off 2015 spring training for the Phillies as well as being the first official game played by a major league team this spring.
Junior pitcher David Heintz started the game, pitching four innings and striking out two while allowing four hits, two walks and one run. Junior Dylan Barrow pitched in relief for two innings, allowing two hits. Junior Michael Calkins appeared in the seventh and eighth innings striking out two while juniors Zac Favre and Kevin Martin closed out the bottom of the ninth for the Spartans, allowing no hits and no runs. Martin picked up the final grounder hit to him by Phillies infielder Cord Phelps to throw to first and score the final out of the game. The pitching staff allowed a total of six hits the entire game.
The Phillies were the first to score in the bottom of the second inning when third baseman Russ Canzler scored, beating a throw home from the outfield to be tagged at home plate by senior catcher Nick Tindall. Phillies outfielder Aaron Altherr scored later on in the second for a 2-0 lead which would be the end of the scoring for the Phillies.
No runs were scored for either teams until the sixth inning when the senior first baseman Andrew Amaro hit a single into the outfield. After, he stole second base while senior shortstop Giovanny Alfonzo came up to bat. Alfonzo hit a single to centerfield that allowed Amaro to come home, scoring their first run of the game.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Spartans came in full force offensively as junior pinch hitter Ty Cooler hit a single to centerfield. Junior Joe Walsh followed one out later to get on base with a walk. Senior Brett Jones then hit an infield single to load the bases, and all runners advanced on the next walk on Amaro that tied the game at 2-2. With two outs and the bases loaded, Alfonzo lead the Spartans to a victory lead as he blasted a grand slam over the left field fence. This led to a 6-2 advantage for the Spartans, which was the final score of the game.
The Spartans are the first NCAA team to defeat a Major League team since the Division I University of Miami Hurricanes defeated the Florida Marlins (now the Miami Marlins) in 2011. Making school and Division II history today, UT will get back to NCAA play this Wednesday, March 3 at home playing Lake Erie College Storm at 6 p.m.
Regina Gonzalez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org