TAMPA, Fla. – The Florida Tech Panthers (28-23, 9-13) held their own against the #2 ranked University of Tampa Spartans (44-6, 20-2) taking the NCAA
Division II powerhouse to 12 innings in game one of the Panthers final regular season SSC weekend.
Tech who is ranked 10th in the NCAA South Region Poll broke out in the fifth inning scoring 5 runs to #1 South Region Ranked Tampa’s one run. Tampa
answered back in the bottom of the fifth scoring seven more runs to once again take the lead 8-5. Again the Panthers came back the next inning to score
four more runs to control the lead nine to eight only to have the Spartans answer back again to the knot the score in the bottom of the sixth 9-9. In the
top of the fifth, the Panthers scored five runs.
Eamonn Powers (Staten Island, NY), Chris Pond (Cary, NC), Nick Brennan (Detroit, MI), Bryan Stanton (Merritt Island, FL) and Steven Condotta (Mississauga,
Ontario) all scored in the frame. Tech’s leading hitter with a .450 batting average, Jonathan Baksh drove in two runs with a double to right field, giving
Florida Tech a 5-1 lead.
Tampa responded in the bottom of the fifth seven runs, highlighted by bases loaded triple and Billy Wimberly’s two hits in the inning. Wimberly led off the
inning with a single and then had a two RBI double later in the frame. After five complete innings the Spartans led 8-5.
The Panthers’ offense was running on all cylinders. Even with their bats on fire, Tech needed the help of Tampa’s defense which committed a two-out error
which allowed five unearned runs to cross the plate, putting Florida Tech up 9-8.
Ryan Kennedy evened the score with a solo blast to right field for his third homerun of the year, in the sixth.
In the seventh, Wimberly put the Spartans back on top, 10-9 with his sixth homerun of the season.
Two Tampa errors led to two unearned runs for the Panthers in the eighth.
Tampa again jumped ahead scoring another run, when Tech scored two in the top of the eight to turn the lead back in their favor 11-10. The Spartans barely
grabbed the tying run in the bottom of the ninth.
Wimberly came up with a clutch RBI single in the ninth to tie the game at 11. His line-drive single was the fifth hit in as many at bats for Wimberly, on
They would eventually notch the game winner in the bottom of the 12th inning to put the 3 ½ hour game to rest. Craig Corrado came to the plate in the 12th
with one out and lined his sixth homerun of season, a solo walk-off shot, ending the game 12-11.
Junior Jon Baksh led the Panthers with three hits and topped all players with five RBI for the night. Baksh tallied two doubles for the evening that came
in fifth and the sixth brining plating a combined four runners in each of the two innings.
Junior Eamonn Powers was the only other Panther to grab a multiple base hit for the game launching a double in the top of the fifth where he also scored
his lone run finishing the night with two hits on six at bats.
Senior Bryan Stanton finished 3-for-6 with three runs and two RBI, while junior Steve Condotta also added three runs going 2-for-6 with one RBI.
Senior Chris Pond rounded out the multiple hits for the conference thriller chipping in two hits and two runs.
Senior hurler Mike Succio, Jr. (Melbourne, FL) threw seven complete innings allowing ten hits on seven earned runs while striking out five and walking
three for his effort. Tech’s reliever freshman Justin Arsenault (Camillus, NY) suffered the loss going 4.1 innings allowing six hits on two runs, walking
two and fanning one. Succio finished off his Tech career with a 9-3 2006 record and led the team with 77 strikeouts which bring his Tech career final tally
to a 22-19 four year record with 233 strikeouts.