Nashville, Tenn. - Jeff Simpson (Valrico, Fla.) tied the score with a two-out single in the top of the 9th, yet #6 Stetson (27-31) could not hold off #5 Jacksonville (26-28) in the bottom half and fell by a score of 3-2 Thursday in Nashville. It was the second loss for the Hatters in as many days which eliminated them from the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament and ended their season.
A gem of a performance by Stetson starting pitcher Lindsey Caughel (Orlando, Fla.) went to waste in the loss. He tossed 8 1/3 innings allowing three runs on just five hits while striking out nine and walking none. He finished the season with a 5-7 record and a team-leading 73 strike outs.
Caughel's nemesis on the afternoon was JU shortstop Jamaal Hawkins who had three hits, including a pair of solo home runs in his first two at bats. After Caughel picked up one out in the 9th inning Hawkins poked a single through the left side. David Burns (Seminole, Fla.) took over to face the left handed Dan Gulbransen and surrendered a walk. He then gave way to freshman Kurt Schluter (Jupiter, Fla.) to face Alex Martinez who promptly roped the first pitch into centerfield for the game-winning hit.
"Caughel did a great job today. I was so proud of him, he went back out in the 9th and got the first out but our bullpen couldn't come through for him", said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn. "In a game like this there just isn't any room for mistakes."
"This season is over now - going into next season we are going to have to improve our bullpen", he added. "I thought our kids came out ready to play. Simpson came through for us in the 9th and tied the ball game but we just couldn't quite hold on."
Simpson led Stetson's offensive effort going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Robert Crews (Port Charlotte, Fla.) was the only other Hatter with multiple hits. He was 2-for-4 with a run scored. Ryan Lashley (Lake Worth, Fla.) belted his team-leading 20th double of the season in the 1st inning.