Published: Jun 2, 2013
The Spartans grab a sixth national championship with an 8-2 victory over Minnesota State.
Back-to-back-to-back run-scoring doubles by Jake Schrader, Zach Gawrych and Adam Pendleton highlighted a five-run second inning as nationally top-ranked Tampa went on to claim its sixth national championship with an 8-2 victory over second-ranked Minnesota State in the championship game of the 2013 NCAA Division II Baseball National Finals on June 1.
The National Finals were co-hosted by Town of Cary and Mount Olive College at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
Schrader was named Most Outstanding Player of the National Finals. He went 2-for-3 Saturday and batted .444 (8-for-18) with two home runs, seven runs batted in and a .944 slugging percentage in five games at the National Finals.
An announced crowd of 2,478 was in attendance at the championship game, the second highest single-game attendance since the Division II Baseball National Finals moved to Cary in 2009. Last year's championship game between West Chester and Delta State saw a record crowd of 2,663.
While there were no weather delays during any of the 14 games in this year's National Finals, the championship game saw a delay of 12 minutes due to a power outage while Tampa was batting in the bottom of the seventh.
Sean O'Brien led off the bottom of the second with a single up the middle on an 0-2 pitch and B.J. Zimmerman followed with a single to right. O'Brien came home with Tampa's first run on Schrader's double to straightaway center field just short of the warning track. Gawrych followed with a chopper over the third base bag that resulted in a two-run double down the left field line. Garwych scored on Pendleton's double to right, Tampa's fifth consecutive hit. Pendleton advanced to third on a sacrifice and scored on a line single to left by Connor Obrochta to give the Spartans a 5-0 lead.
Minnesota State used an unearned run to get on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth after Nolan Johnson was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Stetson Olson singled up the middle. Taylor Branstad hit into a force at second, but Johnson scored when the throw to first was off target to pull the Mavericks within 5-1.
But that was as close as Minnesota State would get as Tampa starter Jon Keller (6-3) shut down the Mavericks with five strikeouts and no walks. He scattered six hits and retired the side in order in the seventh before giving way to two relievers for the final two innings. The win was Keller's second in as many starts in the National Finals.
Tampa added a run in the bottom of the fourth on Michael Danner's sacrifice fly and scored two unearned runs in the seventh on a throwing error shortly after the power outage delay ended.
Lucas Skjefte singled in a run in the top of the ninth for Minnesota State, which outhit Tampa 9-8. Parker Sullivan and Stetson Olson had three hits apiece for the Mavericks, which suffered its only loss of the National Finals.
Minnesota State starting pitcher Harvey Martin (9-1), who recorded a win Monday against Franklin Pierce, suffered his first loss of the season. Martin was the consensus Division II Baseball National Pitcher of the Year.
Tampa won Division II Baseball National Championships in 1992, 1993, 1998, 2006 and 2007. The Spartans, the last team to win back-to-back national titles, ended a streak of five consecutive first-time champions.
For more information, visit tampaspartans.com