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Tampa wins seventh DII baseball title

2015 Division II Baseball

Pitching wins championships, or so the old baseball axiom goes.

The University of Tampa and Catawba College produced plenty of stellar work on the mound throughout the season, and when the two squared off with the national championship trophy on the line on May 30 in Cary, North Carolina, Tampa left-hander Michael Calkins proved the old saying true.

Calkins’ complete-game four-hitter led the Spartans to a 3-1 win and their second NCAA title in three years, and it also marked the seventh time that Tampa has been the last Division II team standing.

The victory provided a measure of redemption for Tampa. The Spartans held a 51-2 record at one point last season, but their quest to win a championship fell short when the winning run by Colorado Mesa University scored on a passed ball by catcher Nick Tindall.

This time, though, Tindall caught the final strike and charged toward the mound to celebrate with Calkins.

“You have a vision of how things are going to end,” Tindall, a senior criminology major who next plans to join the Air Force, told NCAA.com. “Last night, I was lying in bed and thinking about how championships are won. For it to end with a strikeout and for me to have the ball and go over and tackle (Michael) Calkins and just drag him to the ground and everybody just jump on top of me, the feeling is just so overwhelming. I couldn’t be happier to do this with a great group of guys.”