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Darby McCormick and the Hatters open A-Sun play Friday at ETSU.
by: Stetson University
Hatters Open A-Sun Play at ETSU
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  03/20/2014
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First Pitch
Stetson opens Atlantic Sun Conference play this weekend when the Hatters visit East Tennessee State for a three-game series, beginning Friday. The series marks the start of Stetson’s 28th season of baseball in the A-Sun.

Stetson vs. ETSU
The Hatters and Buccaneers have met 28 times prior to this weekend, with Stetson owning an 18-10 advantage in the series. The teams first met in 2006, during ETSU’s first season in the A-Sun. Stetson and ETSU have split their 12 meetings in Johnson City, all of which have come during the regular season. Stetsons wept a three-game series at Thomas Stadium in 2012, but ETSU ended Stetson’s 2013 season in the A-Sun Tournament at Melching Field.

Scouting the Bulldogs
East Tennessee State is 9-11 as it enters its Atlantic Sun Conference opening weekend with Stetson. The Buccaneers, the defending A-Sun Tournament champions, have won just two of their last six games. Like Stetson, ETSU’s longest winning streak this season is six games.
    The Bucs are led offensively by 1B Clinton Freeman, who enters the weekend hitting .349-2-20. Freeman is the only ETSU batter currently hitting over .300.
    On the mound, the Bucs own a 4.91 team ERA. Right-hander Austin Hutchison has been ETSU’s top starter this season with a 1-1 record and 2.95 ERA. He is scheduled to start on Friday.    

Hatters Down No. 13 Miami, 7-3; First win over Hurricanes Since ‘97
Stetson scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally for a 7-3 win over No. 13 Miami, last Wednesday at Melching Field. The win is the first for Stetson over the Hurricanes since 1997.
    After Miami tied the game at 3-3 with a run in the top of the seventh, the Hatters sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning and collected five hits, matching the total they had the previous night in a 6-1 loss to No. 5 NC State.
    Patrick Mazeika started the rally with a one-out single. After he moved to second on a wild pitch, the Hurricanes intentionally walked Josh Powers. Garrett Russini pinch-hit for Wade McNabb and lined a 3-1 pitch off the wall in left field for a double, scoring Mazeika for a 4-3 lead.
    Darby McCormick pinch hit for Kyle Zech and bounced a double past Miami third baseman Edgar Michelangeli, scoring both Powers and Russini for a 6-3 lead. After a Kyle Pitts single put runners on the corners, Robert Bruce chopped an infield single to score McCormick for a 7-3 advantage.

Cockrell Named A-Sun Pitcher of the Week
Stetson freshman Taylor Cockrell has been named Atlantic Sun Conference pitcher of the week, the league office announced on March 10.
    Cockrell earns the first weekly A-Sun award of his career after tossing a complete game, five-hitter on March 9 against Siena. The right-hander from Lake Wales, Fla., struck out 10 batters and only allowed one walk. Cockrell needed only 106 pitches to subdue the Saints.

Three Dot Data
This year marks the 15th season of Melching Field at Conrad Park. Opened in 1999, Melching Field has hosted over 500 Stetson games. The Hatters are 364-185 (.663) all-time at Melching Field, with an average attendance of 1,115 fans. Melching Field as been the host of 10 A-Sun Conference tournaments ... the Hatters face what head coach Pete Dunn calls the most challenging schedule in his 35 years as head coach... Stetson plays a total of 13 games against ACC and SEC foes this season (Ole Miss-3, Boston College-3, Florida State-3, South Carolina-2, Miami-1, NC State-1) ... Stetson also faces seven teams who participated in the 2013 NCAA Tournament (Ole Miss, South Carolina, NC State, Miami, FSU, Mercer, ETSU) ... senior pitcher Austin Perez has pitched his two best games of the season against two of Stetson’s top foes. In his last two starts (at No. 1 South Carolina, vs. No. 13 Miami) Perez has a pair of no-decisions and a 3.21 ERA in 14.0 innings of work ... Garrett Russini currently leads the A-Sun with four triples.

Hatters Picked Sixth, Mazeika Honored
Stetson’s baseball team was picked to finish sixth in the 2014 Atlantic Sun Conference race, and sophomore first baseman Patrick Mazeika was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Conference team.
    The Hatters received a total of 60 points in the coaches poll, finishing just behind fifth place Kennesaw State (64). Stetson returns six seniors among its 19 letter winners from last season’s 26-31 squad.
    Defending regular-season champion Mercer received seven first place votes and 97 total points en route to being named as the preseason favorite. North Florida (86) received one first place vote, while Florida Gulf Coast (73) received two first place votes. Defending tournament champion East Tennessee (69) is fourth in the preseason poll, followed by Kennesaw State, Stetson, Lipscomb (34), USC Upstate (30), Jacksonville (27) and Northern Kentucky (10).
    Mazeika was one of three unanimous selections to the Preseason All-Conference team. The 2013 A-Sun Freshman of the Year, Mazeika batted .382 with three home runs and 33 RBI in 57 games. Mazeika was also a first-team all-conference selection and was a consensus Freshman All-America honoree.
    Mercer’s Chesny Young was named preseason player of the year, while Chad Sobotka of USC Upstate and Michael Massi of Mercer were named as pitcher and defensive player of the year, respectively.

Stetson Baseball History
A participant in Florida’s first intercollegiate baseball game in 1902 (W, 4-0 vs. Rollins), Stetson has been playing baseball since 1901. The Hatters are beginning their 97th season of competition, with the program being dormant during both World Wars.
    The Hatters have had plenty of success on the field, winning 1,913 total games and carrying a .571 winning percentage into the 2014 season.
    Stetson has participated in 17 NCAA Regionals, 2011 being the last time, and captured eight Atlantic Sun Conference championships (Stetson was an independent in baseball until 1987).
    Stetson has produced its share of Major League Baseball talent as well, boasting a pair of first round draft picks and nine Major Leaguers, including current Atlanta Braves third baseman Chris Johnson and Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber. Others to play in the big leagues include: Brian Bocock, Lenny DiNardo, Eric Knott, Kevin Nicholson, Wade Rowdon, Bill Swaggerty and George Tsamis.

Up Next
The Hatters return home to host Florida A&M, 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 26 at Melching Field.

Stetson Baseball