|Big Inning Keys Hatters Past JU 8-3|
After leaving six runners on base in the first three innings on Saturday, Stetson junior Mitchel Brennan came to the plate in the seventh with the bases loaded and the Hatters trailing visiting Jacksonville 3-2.
With one out in the inning, Brennan was looking for something he could put in the air deep enough to score Spencer Theisen from third with the tying run. He delivered instead a bases clearing triple, sparking a six-run inning for the Hatters, who went on to take an 8-3 victory clinching the weekend series.
“I was just trying to get a pitch up that I could get into the outfield to get one run in,” Brennan said. “Luckily, he hung a slider and I got out in front to pull it down the line and got three of them. “Their guy was a really good pitcher and you have to tip your hat to him. He came out Thursday and shut us down and we had to really battle him today before, finally, a couple of balls fell in for us.”
The Jacksonville starter, sophomore Chris Anderson (3-3) picked up the save in relief in the series opener and kept the Hatters in check on Saturday until that seventh inning. He held Stetson to one run, a solo homer by Trey Blackman in the fourth, on seven hits before the Hatters had their six-run uprising.
The big inning prevented Stetson senior Will Dorsey from taking a loss in a game that he pitched well in. Over six and a third innings, Dorsey allowed just three runs on five hits. He left in the top of the seventh with two runners on base and the top of the Jacksonville order due up.
“I have to go out there and do my job in every inning, and my job is to keep the off the board because I know that, eventually, our offense is going to come around,” Dorsey said. “I got into a little trouble because I started wearing down a little. Our bull pen is so strong that I always have confidence to hand the ball to them to get us out of any jam.”
It took three different pitchers from the pen, each working to one batter, to get the Hatters out of the seventh. Junior Joe Dye came in and got the ground ball he was looking for, but Jonathan Murphy hit it so slowly that the Hatters were unable to make a play.
Left-hander Austin Perez then came on to pitch to Dan Gulbransen, who delivered a sacrifice fly in foul territory to score Matt Frank from third, giving the Dolphins a 3-1 lead. Jake Boyd (3-0) then came on to get a fly out to end the inning.
“In retrospect, we should have let that ball (Gulbransen’s sac fly) drop and take our chances because we were already down 2-1 there,” Hatters coach Pete Dunn said. “As it turned out, it really didn’t matter because we got the big inning.
“I am proud of this club because they swung the bats today, getting 13 hits, they pitched well and we came up big in that one inning with some key base hits. It was a good game for us, all the way around.”
With the victory, Stetson improved to 21-10 overall on the season and, more importantly, to 5-4 in Atlantic Sun Conference play. Jacksonville falls to 12-21 overall and 2-7 in league play.
The Hatters’ 13-hit attack was led by Ben Carhart, who came up a homer short of hitting for the cycle thanks to his RBI triple in the eighth. Theisen, Sam Kimmel and Brennan had two hits each for Stetson. Murphy had three of the eight hits in the game for Jacksonville.
The Hatters will return to action on Tuesday night at Melching Field when they host South Florida at 6:30 p.m. Stetson defeated the Bulls, who swept a Big East series at Cincinnati this weekend, last Tuesday night in Tampa.