After spending the last two weeks on the road, the Stetson baseball team will return home to Melching Field on Tuesday night to host intra-state rival South Florida.
The game will be the second in a scheduled three-game series between the Hatters and Bulls this year. USF took the first game of the series 12-8 back on April 2 in Tampa. The teams are scheduled to meet again on May 1 in Tampa.
In addition to the Hatters’ return to Melching Field for the 6:30 p.m. game, Stetson will honor all members of the military and veterans of military service with free admission. Family members of active service or retired military will also be admitted for just $5.
“It is important to us that we do something to honor our veterans and military,” Hatters coach Pete Dunn said after Sunday’s victory over USC Upstate. “Those people have given so much to protect the freedom that we enjoy, and this is just a small way for us to thank them for their service.”
On the field, the Hatters (17-20) will be looking to build some momentum this week after taking two of three games each of the last two weekends on the road in Atlantic Sun Conference play. To do that, they will continue to look to the pitching staff to keep the Hatters close.
Freshman Adam Schaly (0-2, 5-46) will look to get in the win column for the first time when he makes his seventh start of the season. The left-hander has had mixed results this year, with most of his problems coming after he falls behind in the count. He did a better job of throwing strikes his last time out and will need to duplicate that success against the Bulls.
South Florida (22-14) comes into the game riding an eight-game winning streak that started with their victory over Stetson two weeks ago. Since that win the Bulls have swept a conference series from Pittsburgh, defeated UCF and swept a non-conference series from Alcorn State.
The Bulls’ win streak caught the attention of one of the four major national polls this week. South Florida debuted at No. 28 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
No one is on a hotter streak than Stetson freshman first baseman Patrick Mazeika, who enters play this week riding a 21-game hit streak, the longest active streak in all of college baseball. If he continues the streak Tuesday night, he would move alone into fifth on the all-time Stetson hit streak list.
Mazeika has not just been getting one hit each game. He is the leading hitter in the Atlantic Sun Conference and his .411 batting average ranks 18th in the nation entering play this week. Mazeika has multiple hits in 10 of the 21 games during his streak, including each of the last six games.
In addition to his hit streak, Mazeika has reached base in 28 straight games and in 36 of 37 games this year.
He’ll look to keep that streak alive against USF sophomore right-hander Mike Clarkson (1-4). Clarkson started against Stetson in the first meeting this year, allowing two runs on three hits, one by Mazeika, over three innings of work.
Following the game against USF on Tuesday the Hatters will host East Tennessee State in A-Sun play this weekend. The Bucs (21-12, 10-5) have won seven of their last eight games over the last two weeks, including consecutive league sweeps of Lipscomb and Northern Kentucky.
That series will open on Friday night at Melching Field with the first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.