Columbia, S.C. - Stetson survived with a 5-3 afternoon victory over North Carolina State and will move on to play South Carolina in the championship round at 7:00 p.m. A win by the Gamecocks would give them the Regional title, while a win by the Hatters would extend the tournament to a 7:00 p.m. winner-take-all showdown on Monday.
Ben Carhart (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) was Stetson's leading hitter against N.C. State with a 2-for-5 effort that included an RBI. Mark Jones (Bunnell, Fla.) was 1-for-5 with a double and a run scored and Trey Blackman (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) finished 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
Stetson scored the first run in the top of the second inning and then never trailed in the ball game. Spencer Theisen (Longwood, Fla.) led off the inning with a double to right field and then advanced when Blackman grounded out to the right side. Sean Emory (Miami, Fla.) was next and he plated Theisen safety squeeze style with a sacrifice bunt.
The Hatters increased their lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the fourth. The key hit of the inning was Jones' double. Blackman and Emory picked up runs batted in on a walk and a fielder's choice respectively.
Stetson closer Robbie Powell (Punta Gorda, Fla.) started for the Hatters and came up a third of an inning short of qualifying for the win. He tossed 4.2 innings allowing two runs on three hits and striking out two. Tucker Donahue (Coral Springs, Fla.) pitched brilliantly in 3.2 innings of relief. He gave up just one unearned run on four hits and picked up his third win of the season against three losses. Jake Boyd (West Palm Beach, Fla.) took the mound for the final two outs and earned his 6th save of 2011.
The Wolfpack scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning before Donahue entered with two outs and ended the rally. Stetson scored single runs in the seventh and eight innings to seal the deal.
Stetson fans can hear tonight's championship game on Hatter Vision at GoHatters.com with Bill Topping calling the action.