Published: May 19, 2010
Live stats and a link to the NCAA webcast will be available through www.tampaspartans.com.
were looking a little shaky Monday afternoon in the 2010 NCAA Division
II South Region baseball championship. The Spartans were down in a game
against Southern Arkansas University which had won 10-7 in the first
game of the day.
Then catcher Mike Blanke ’11 stepped up and hit
one out of the park. Blake’s grand slam revived the Spartans and even
made it to SI.com’s Extra Mustard as the sports video of the day.
was excited because it was dead the whole day, and that lifted it up,”
said Blanke, a marketing major from Palm Bay, FL. “With bases loaded, I
was just trying to get something in the air.”
(46-9) went on to win their 14th NCAA South Regional with a 20-3
victory, and Blanke, was named most valuable player of the tournament.
Larry Walicki also hit a grand slam, tying UT with an NCAA record with
two grand slams in a postseason game.
“This one was an emotional
rollercoaster,” said Coach Joe Urso ’92, a former Spartan All-American,
now in his 10th season as head baseball coach at UT. “It was a big
letdown dropping the first game. In the second one we gave up the
lead-off homerun. But our team battled the starting pitcher.”
the pitcher was switched out, Urso said the energy in the dugout
spiked, and he knew his guys were ready to take the tournament. Heading
into the NCAA Division II Championships on Saturday, May 22, Urso is
trying hard to keep his players from being affected by the added
“I want them to try to not be so overly hyped,” said
Urso, who has led the Spartans to two NCAA championships in 2006 and
2007. “The first game of the tournament is the toughest because of
Following the south regional championship, Urso and six
student-athletes each earned ABCA/Rawlings All-South Region honors. Urso
was named the ABCA/Rawlings Coach of the Year and Patrick Donahue and
Blanke each earned a spot on the first-team. Josh Bowman, Tyler Cox,
Mike Schwartz and Jared Simon also earned second-team consideration.
Spartans will travel to Cary, N.C., for the NCAA Division II
Championships where it will meet the University of Central Missouri, the
South Central Region champion, on Saturday at 1 p.m. The finals
conclude May 29.
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