Spartans Heading for College World Series

Published: May 23, 2006
After breezing through the NCAA South Regional with four consecutive victories, the UT baseball team will meet South Atlantic champion Francis Marion in the opening game of the 2006 College World Series in Montgomery, AL.

The Spartans, who have won 15 consecutive games, enter their 11th College World Series with an overall record of 50-6, which marks a school record for victories in a season. The nation’s top team will make its first appearance since 2003 in the College World Series and are looking to win their fourth national championship. Tampa last won the NCAA Division II baseball title in 1998.

The Spartans begin World Series play on Saturday, May 27. The time has yet to be announced. For complete CWS information, please visit the host Web site at http://www.valdosta.edu/athletics/montgomery/.

After advancing to the College World Series, the top-ranked University of Tampa baseball team took home all three major South Region awards for the first time since 1990. Lee Cruz was named player of the year, Sergio Perez was pitcher of the year and Head Coach Joe Urso was coach of the year.

Cruz and Perez were among five Spartans selected first-team all-South Region, joining Jose Jimenez, Ross Jackson and Orlando Rosales. The second team included Tampa players Aaron Cook, Craig Corrado and Roberto Mena.

Cruz, who leads Tampa in batting average (.438), home runs (23), RBI (88), hits (96) and doubles (18), became the first Tampa player since Rodd Kelley in 1993 to earn the honor. He is currently moving up the all-time charts for single-season records, needing just two home runs to tie the record set by Tino Martinez. He also needs two RBI’s to tie Jim Kavouias for first all-time and four hits to tie Paul Russo.

Perez, who threw the school’s third no-hitter and first since 1996, was also the SSC pitcher of the year and national player of the week when he threw the no-hitter. He currently has an ERA of 2.15 while posting a record of 10-2. While pitching 88 innings, Perez has struck out a team-high 119 batters while holding opponents to a .180 batting average.

Urso wins the award for the third time in his six-year career, tying Terry Rupp and Lelo Prado for the most times won by a Spartan coach. Urso has led his squad to a school record 50 victories this season, breaking the record of his 2001 squad. With Urso at the helm, the Spartans also won a school record 21 consecutive games this season. With a career record of 261-88 (.748), Urso is the fastest Tampa coach to record 250 career victories.

For more information, see Spartan Headlines or contact Tom Kolbe, sports information director, at (813) 253-3333 x 6241 or tkolbe@ut.edu