Saladino honoured to play for hometown Spartans

Floridian aims to bring home 9th national championship for school

Nico Saladino, University of Tampa Spartans
Nico Saladino poses in front of the national championship graphic on the left field wall. He wants to add to their current total of eight (Patrick Hannon/Toronto Observer) 

TAMPA, Fla — Playing baseball at the University of Tampa has always been a goal of Nico Saladino’s

Growing up in the area, the left-fielder has been going to the stadium and watching the Spartans play since childhood.

He couldn’t turn down the chance to join a historic program.

“When I got the chance to become a Tampa Spartan I jumped on the opportunity,” said Saladino, after he took batting practice at the sun-soaked UT Baseball Field.

Transferring from South Florida State, his move was seamless due to the family atmosphere created by his teammates and head coach Joe Urso.

“Always wanting to be a Spartan, he takes a lot of pride in wearing this uniform,” Urso said, when discussing the 22-year-old.

The business major noted the biggest differences were newer facilities along with an independent feel where players are left to themselves, giving them added responsibility and expectation.

Playing middle infielder and pitcher at South Florida State, Saladino made the move to left field this season, something he has embraced playing in 19 of the 28 games, hitting .267 with four RBIs.

“It took a bit of getting used to, left field is very different with the sun and being able to judge how the ball comes off the bat.”

Although the Tampa native enjoyed playing the infield, he wants to do everything in his power to help his hometown team capture a ninth national championship, even if it means he has to get back on the mound.

Aspirations of winning a title were evident when talking to Saladino who understands that it is the expectation every season.

“I want to win a ring a here,” he said. “It is something I have always dreamed of and being able to do with Tampa would be something special for me.”

Overcoming a slow start to his season, the left-handed batter has been heating up over the past month, hitting his lone home run.

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Posted: Mar 21 2023 7:33 pm
Filed under: Baseball NCAA Sports