TAMPA, Florida (May 17, 2012) –
The number eight seed Stillman Tigers earned a huge program win as they
defeated the number one seed Tampa Spartans 6-5 in 13 innings during the first
round of the 2012 NCAA Division II South Regional.
The win pushed the Tigers' win streak to 12 and snapped the six-game win streak of the Spartans.
"It was a great and landmark win for Stillman baseball," said coach Donny Crawford. "We have been to the regional several times prior and to come away with a victory against a tough Tampa program says volumes about the program and the players who play for Stillman College."
The Tigers (30-16) opened the scoring in the top of the first inning as Dion Bryant singled up the middle and scored when Paul Winterbottom singled to center field.
Tampa would answer in the bottom of the frame when Damon Elder scored on a bases-loaded walk.
Stillman changed the scoreboard again in the top of the second and third innings. In the second, T. J. Rock scored on a Casey Hall sacrifice bunt. In the third, Jarius Brown singled to reach base. Two batters later, Winterbottom stole second as Brown took home, giving Stillman a 3-1 lead.
"We had several players have good at-bats at critical times tonight. A lot of the guys from both teams battled some tough pitching though out the game. I told our guys that if we play how we are capable of playing ... that we could make some noise in this tournament."
Tampa scored a run in the bottom of the third inning, cutting the lead to 3-2 in favor of Stillman. Stillman increased the scoring margin in the top of the fifth. Brown crossed home on a throwing error and McCreless doubled to score Landon Wilson.
In the bottom of the seventh, Tampa scored twice. Eric Grabe doubled before Heath Pritchard singled to right field two batters later, scoring the leadoff hitter. After a pitching change for Stillman, Tiger pitcher Tyler Colvert would register a strikeout before a Shane Rowland groundout would score B.J. Zimmerman.
In the bottom of the ninth, Stillman's defense recorded two outs and two strikes on the batter before Tyler Ding would triple to right center field, just outside of the reach of a diving Bryant. The hit would score Grabe, who walked to open the inning.
In the tenth and 11th innings, both teams would get base runners, but neither score could push runners across the plate. By the time the 12th inning had concluded, Stillman had stranded 12 runners while Tampa had left 13 men on base.
With a 1-2 count in the top of the 13th inning, Stillman got a one walk from Seth Booth and Bryant reached on a fielder's choice. Brown was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second with two outs. With a 1-2 count, Winterbottom singled to left field scoring Bryant, but Brown was caught in a rundown after making the turn at second.
In the bottom of the inning, Conner Obrochta opened the frame popping up to Colvert on the mound. With one out, Damon Elder laced a single through the left side. Andrew Jones popped up to Winterbottom at third for the second out of the inning. With two outs, Grabe singled through the left side, moving Elder to second. Colvert then hit pinch hitter Adam Pendleton in the side to load the bases with two outs. A Heath Pritchard groundout to Brown at first to end the game and give Stillman the upset win.