The Tampa Spartans have done it again. The top-ranked Spartans (53-10) defeated Columbus State (Ga.) 7-2 Friday to win their school’™s fifth Division II national championship. Tampa also became the first school to win back-to-back titles since it accomplished the same feat in 1992-93, led by current head coach Joe Urso at second base.
All-American closer Jonathan Holt (4-2), made the surprise start and threw a complete game six-hitter, giving up only one earned run and striking out eight without yielding a walk. Holt, ranked as the 148th draft prospect in our 2007 draft preview, had thrown 57 innings in 30 games this season and picked up his second win of Tampa’™s four victories in the World Series.
Columbus State jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third as CSU’™s Jonny Geiger scored on an unearned run. Tampa answered in the top of the fourth as Chris Rosenbaum hit a double that drove in a run and Nolan Brannon gave UT the lead as he advanced home on a wild pitch. Tampa added to its lead in the top of the eighth when Rosenbaum blasted a double off the left-center field wall to score Brannon, giving the Spartans a 4-1 lead. The Spartans than went on to seal the deal as Junior Mejia and Troy Ferguson hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the ninth. Rosenbaum led the Spartans offense, collecting three hits and driving in two runs. Brannon and Mejia each added two hits.
The combination of stellar hitting and good pitching propelled the Spartans. The Spartans batting average was a tournament-field best (.368), and they scored 37 runs and collected 56 hits during the four-game series. The Spartans pitching was equally impressive, as they only allowed nine earned runs (2.25 team ERA).
The 2007 Division II Baseball Championships all-tournament team includes: C–Chris Rosenbaum, Tampa; 1B–Billy Howard, Columbus State; 2B–Darin Mastroianni, Southern Indiana; 3B–Brian Frew, Nebraska-Omaha; SS–Roberto Mena, Tampa; OF–Fernando Franco, Cal State Los Angeles; OF–Derw Candlin, Columbus State; OF–Junior Mejia, Tampa; DH–Rodney Rutherford, Columbus State; P–Cory Julian, Southern Indiana; P–Jonathan Holt, Tampa; Most Outstanding Player: Jonathan Holt, Tampa.