“I’m very disappointed in our play,” head coach Pete Dunn said. “We have to play a near perfect game to have a chance to win not only the game but the tournament. We ended up making five errors and I think we punched out 10 times so that is not a recipe for wins.”
Chris Ingoglia (9-6) took the loss for Stetson despite a gutsy effort. He struck out five in 5 1/3 innings while getting around some early jams to keep the Hatters within striking distance.
“You know you look at those errors but I don’t think any of those runs that scored were unearned,” Ingoglia said. “I mean being up in that situation at the time is tough. But I was able to get out of the inning without any of the runs scoring that would have been unearned. It’s frustrating when you go out there, but the bottom line is, if we’re not scoring, it’s my job as the pitcher to keep the score low, to keep it to zero.”
Ingoglia pitched out of trouble in the third inning.
However, cleanup hitter Mitch Moreland led off the next inning with his 8th home run of the year to put the Bulldogs on top, 1-0. Ingoglia came up big again later that inning. Two more errors and a bloop single loaded the bases with one out for the second straight inning. This time Ingoglia struck out the last two batters of the inning to keep it close.
In the top of the fifth, Stetson shortstop Kevin Johnson led off with single and went to second on Shane Jordan’s sacrifice. One out later Braedyn Pruitt drove a ball to the wall but it was caught for the final out.
Moreland then gave MSU a two-run lead. Joseph McCaskill led off with a single to left and went to third on Easley’s base hit. Easley was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double but Moreland followed with a dribbler down the third base line that gave McCaskill enough time to score.
Stetson threatened again in the sixth. Adam Tindle drew a one-out walk and Aaron Crittenden singled through the right side. MSU starter Chad Crosswhite (8-4) then fell behind 2-0 on Jeremy Cruz and was lifted for reliever John Lalor. He came back to strike out Cruz and Josh Clendenin to keep Stetson off the scoreboard.
Pruitt got the Hatters on the board in the seventh. Shane Jordan walked with one out and Pruitt doubled into the left-center field gap to pull Stetson within 5-1. Justin Bass followed with a towering home run to right-center the cut the deficit to two runs. It was his fifth home run of the year and his first since April 17.
A balk with two outs and runners on second and third in the seventh brought in another run for
Pruitt finished 2-for-4 for Stetson, driving in his 188th career run in the process.
McCaskill led MSU with three hits. Moreland drove in two runs and LaNinfa scored twice. Ricky Bowen pitched the final two innings for his fifth save.