Nashville, Tenn. - Will Dorsey (Atlantic Beach, Fla.) pitched a gem in an elimination game to lead Stetson to a 7-2 win over East Tennessee State Thursday in Nashville. The No. 1 seeded Hatters are now 41-17 overall, 1-1 in the championship tournament, and will move on to face either Kennesaw State, Mercer or Jacksonville on Friday. No. 5 ETSU fell to 36-21 overall, 0-2 in the tournament, and heads home as the first team eliminated.
On a day when Stetson needed a pitcher to stand up and be counted, Dorsey did just that. He threw 6.2 innings allowing two runs, one of which was earned, on six hits. He left the game with a 5-2 lead, a season-high 116 pitches, and a career-high nine strikeouts.
"Dorsey set the tone for us. That was huge him going out there and pitching as well as he did", said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn. "We got just what we needed out of him today. We were hoping to get six, maybe seven out of him which we did. He was pretty efficient. He had great command of the breaking ball."
"He has a lot of courage and a lot of confidence. He probably could have gone a little further but we knew we had Boyd and Powell ready to go so we made the move", he added
Stetson opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Sean Emory (Miami, Fla.) led off with a single up the middle and then reached third after walks to Ben Carhart (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Mark Jones (Bunnell, Fla.). With two outs Spencer Theisen (Longwood, Fla.) hit a ground ball that was fielded by the second baseman who could not beat a hustling Jones to second base. Emory scored on the RBI fielder's choice.
After ETSU tied the score in the top of the third inning Carhart put the Hatters back on top with a long, tall solo blast to left, his 7th home run of the season.
The Bucs tied the score 2-2 in the fifth before Stetson went ahead to stay with a three-spot in the bottom of the sixth. The key hit was two-out double to right center by Mitchel Brennan (Orlando, Fla.) that scored Theisen and Jones. Freshman Kyle Zech (Naples, Fla.) plated Brennan with a single through the left side of the infield. Fellow freshman Robert Bruce (Sarasota, Fla.) delivered and RBI single of his own as part of a two-run eighth inning for the Hatters.
"We certainly came out today and played well. We were embarrassed yesterday, there is no doubt about it and our kids knew it", said Dunn. "This team is pretty resilient. We got some key hits. Brennan had a big two out, two strike base hit and Bruce had a big base hit there in the eighth. I am real proud of these guys."
"We'll be back tomorrow to play whoever they tell us we have to play. Were going to keep coming back to the yard, play hard and see if we can fight our way back through this thing."
If the Hatters are going to move on they will have to battle through some aches and pains.
"We are beat up right now, no doubt about it", said Dunn. "Simpson didn't play today after making a hell of a catch yesterday and spraining his wrist. Blackman is beat up, Rickles is beat up and Carhart is beat up. I mean everybody is beat up but its that time of year when you just have to go out and play hurt."
Stetson is now scheduled to return to Dugan Field Friday at 4:00 p.m. (eastern) to face either Kennesaw State, Mercer or Jacksonville in another elimination game. Every game in the tournament is available for viewing free of charge on A-Sun TV. Hatters fans can find the games at www.atlanticsun.org, or by looking for a link at www.GoHatters.com.