DeLand, Fla. - Stetson (34-10, 17-4 A-Sun) completed a three-game sweep with a 6-0 shutout of North Florida (23-18, 12-12 A-Sun) Sunday at Melching Field. The first place Hatters, ranked No. 17 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball, have now won all seven Atlantic Sun Conference series this season with three sweeps.
Starting pitchers Tucker Donahue (Coral Springs, Fla.) for Stetson and Tyler Moore (Ormond Beach, Fla.) dueled on the mound into the 7th inning with each refusing to back down. In the end Moore allowed two runs on five hits and took the loss falling to 4-1. Donahue had a no-hitter going until the 7th when he surrendered a single to right field on a 3-2 count. He did not give up a run and struck out four yet left the game before the Hatters could score.
"What can you say about the pitching staff this weekend. On a weekend when your top two guys aren't even on the conference eligibility list to get three starts like we did and have the bullpen come in and do their job. I am really proud of our staff and especially those three guys that gave us three really quality starts", said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn.
"I was extremely impressed with their guy Moore as well. It was two hard throwing right handers going at it. He and Donahue were both throwing the ball by people", he added.
Jake Boyd (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and Robbie Powell (Punta Gorda, Fla.) combined with Donahue for the shutout. Boyd tossed 1.2 innings striking out one and earning his second win of the weekend and sixth of the season (6-0). Powell threw the final inning striking out one batter.
Stetson went into the bottom of the 7th looking to break the scoreless deadlock. Mark Jones (Bunnell, Fla.) led off with an infield single and then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Spencer Theisen (Longwood, Fla.). On the next pitch he stole third base and put himself in position to score the first run of the game. Unfortunately he was thrown out at home when Ryan Lashley (Lake Worth, Fla.) hit a grounder to the shortstop who made a nice play on the ball.
With two outs, Lashley on first base and the fans enthusiasm waning, Mitchel Brennan belted a 1-1 pitch very high and very deep down the right field line that stayed just fair. It was the first collegiate home run for the sophomore out of Orlando. The Hatters added four runs in the bottom of the 8th to secure the win.
"That was huge", said Dunn. "It was another example of another guy stepping up for us. Mitch went in there and took advantage of that start and gave us a big two-run homer that really picked us up."
Brennan finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Jones also had two hits including his team-leading fourth triple of the season. He extended his current hitting streak to 12 games. Ben Carhart (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Nick Rickles (Loxahatchee, Fla.) added doubles for the home team.
"Now we'll give the guys a couple days off to rest up and concentrate on their classes", said Dunn. "We won't have much of a chance to prepare for next weekend but I think the rest will do us a lot of good. At this point in time you have to step back a little bit, lick your wounds and try to get healthy down the stretch."
Stetson will have the week off for finals and then travel to Fort Myers next weekend for a series with Florida Gulf Coast. The games are scheduled for Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 4:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Stetson fans can see the games on Hatter Vision at GoHatters.com with Bill Topping calling the action. Tickets for home games are available at the gate or can be purchased online at GoHatters.com or by calling 738-HATS.