NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Stetson baseball team enters this weekend’s series at Lipscomb in search of a fourth consecutive Atlantic Sun series win.
The Hatters and Bison will open their three-game series on Friday night at 7 p.m. (ET) at Marsh Stadium. For fans naking the trip to Nashville, Lipscomb is offering free admission to all three games.
After taking road series at Jacksonville and USC Upstate, the Hatters took two-of-three at home last weekend from ETSU. The recent run of success has the Hatters (19-22, 8-7 in the A-Sun) tied with Florida Gulf Coast in the race for the A-Sun title, just three games behind front running North Florida.
With the series victory over Lipscomb (14-28, 4-11) this weekend, the Hatters will have a chance to put themselves in position to make a run at a ninth A-Sun championship. Stetson will host North Florida (29-12, 11-4) next weekend at Melching Field. The Ospreys take on Jacksonville (14-26, 7-8) this weekend.
HatterVision will have audio from all three games this weekend with Ryan Rouse calling the action. There will be no live video from the first two games of the series at Lipscomb.
If recent history is any indication, the Hatters should be poised for a good weekend. Stetson has won eight of the last nine games against Lipscomb over the last three seasons, including a sweep of the Bison last year in DeLand. Lipscomb enters the series having dropped six of their last eight games and 10 of 14.
As a team this year, the Bison are hitting just .251 and do not have a single player batting better than .300 Lipscomb does have some pop in the lineup, however, as evidenced by their 26 home runs this year. By comparison, Stetson has hit four home runs as a team.
On the flip side, Lipscomb’s pitchers have produced an overall ERA of 5.02 this year and opponents are hitting .288 against the Bison pitching staff, which has allowed 22 home runs.
The numbers for Lipscomb in A-Sun play indicated the teams’ struggles. While the Bison are hitting just .230 in 15 conference games, their pitching staff has a 4.95 ERA.
Stetson enters the weekend with a .276 average in league games, but it has been the Hatters’ pitching that has provided the difference. After allowing just six runs, five earned, in the series against ETSU, Stetson has a 3.36 ERA in league play and is allowing just 4.2 runs per game in A-Sun play.
Offensively, the Hatters are led by the defending A-Sun Player of the Week Patrick Mazeika. The freshman has multiple hits in nine of his last 10 games and leads the A-Sun in hitting overall (.405) and in league play (.483), both by a wide margin.
On the mound, the Hatters have gotten outstanding performances from both Josh Powers (1-5, 3.15) and Austin Perez (5-1, 2.86). The biggest difference in the record for the two is the 6.0 runs per game the Hatters have scored for Perez versus the 3.3 runs per game they have scored for Powers.
Powers will be looking to get his first win in league play, and the first Friday night win for Stetson since a 3-2 victory over Fairfield on March 15, when he takes the mound in the series opener. Lipscomb is expected to counter with senior right-hander Josh Cotham (1-4, 9.64). The Bison are in search of their first Friday victory since February 22.
On Saturday night it will be the left-handed junior, Perez, who will take the mound for Stetson against Lipscomb freshman right-hander Denton Norman (2-0, 2.21).
In the series finale on Sunday the Hatters will likely send either freshman left-hander Adam Schaly (1-2, 4.43) or senior right-hander Chad Rood (0-2, 5.83) to the mound to face Lipscomb’s sophomore Will Blalock (0-4, 5.37).
Stetson is still without the services of senior right-hander Kurt Schluter (0-2, 4.50) and freshman right-hander Kevin Fagan (2-2, 2.28, 2 saves) although Fagan, who has been serving as the regular designated hitter, is getting close to a possible return to the mound. In their absence, redshirt freshman right-hander Tyler Warmoth (3-2, 3.31, 2 saves) has stepped into a more prominent role out of the bull pen.
Following the series at Lipscomb, the Hatters will play next Wednesday at South Florida to close out the season series with the Bulls before embarking on an eight-game homestand that will include series against North Florida, Florida State and Northern Kentucky.