No. 6 Tampa salvages 7-4 win over Tusculum in series finale

Edison Cabrera went 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI in Tusculum's 7-4 loss to No. 6 Tampa (photo by James Spears)
Edison Cabrera went 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI in Tusculum's 7-4 loss to No. 6 Tampa (photo by James Spears)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tampa third baseman Darren Miller went 3-for-5 including a pair of home runs in leading the sixth-ranked Spartans to a 7-4 win over host Tusculum Sunday afternoon at Pioneer Park.

Tampa (24-10) salvages the final game of their weekend series to East Tennessee as the Pioneers (23-11) won two of the three contests against the seven-time NCAA national champions.

Tampa jumped out to a 4-0 lead, plating two runs each in the first and second innings.  Miller cracked his first homer of the game, a two-run shot in the first.  In the second frame, Richie Rivera hit a two-out double to left field and Danny Lee followed with a base hit for the four-run advantage.

Tusculum answered with a pair of runs in the third inning when Edison Cabrera singled and moved to third on Jeremy Glore's seventh double of the season.  Both would come into score on Nick Lacina's two-run, two-out single as TC trimmed the deficit to 4-2.

The Spartans extended the lead to 5-2 with a run in the top of the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Kyle Cotilletta.  But the Pioneers answered again with two runs in the bottom of the inning as TC took advantage of an error as Cabrera came through with a run-scoring double, his 10th of the year.

But Tampa responded with a run in the seventh by Miller, his 10th of the season.  The Spartans tacked on an insurance run in the ninth on Laz Rivera's RBI hit.

Colton Widdows (5-0) picked up the win in relief as he went two innings, allowed two unearned runs, two walks and two strikeouts.  Garrett Cave pitched in the night for his first save of the year.

UT's Cheyne Bickel was also dominant in relief as he tossed 2.2 shutout innings allowing one hit and recorded six strikeouts.

Tampa finished the game with 15 hits, including Richie Rivera's 3-for-4 performance, while Cotilletta, Osborne and Kevin Santa all had two hits each.

For Tusculum, Cabrera went 2-for-4, while Dante Key added two hits in the win, including his ninth double of the year.

Tusculum starter Christian Raasch (2-4) suffered the loss ending his string of consecutive wins in his last two starts. He went 5.1 innings, scattered seven hits, five runs, two walks and three strikeouts.

Tusculum returns to action on Tuesday as the Pioneers travel to Hickory, North Carolina to take on Lenoir-Rhyne in a non-conference, mid-week game.  TC will then go to Nashville, Tennessee to face Trevecca Nazarene.