The Stetson Hatters continued to struggle to produce hits on Tuesday night, but took advantage of almost every scoring opportunity to take a 9-4 victory over visiting Florida A&M.
The Hatters (12-13) didn’t pick up their second hit of the night until the fifth inning against FAMU starting pitcher John Marcus Robert (0-1), but used three hits in that inning to break a 3-3 tie. It was a lead Stetson would not surrender.
Freshman Tyler Warmoth (2-2) earned the victory with two solid innings of relief work following starter Adam Schaly. He allowed only an unearned run, which scored on a passed ball, in the sixth inning. He was followed on the mound by Joe Dye, who blanked the Rattlers for two innings, and Ben Rakus.
“I feel fortunate to win this game because I don’t think that we were ready to play like we should have been,” Stetson coach Pete Dunn said. “It is frustrating from a coaching standpoint to see kids, who look like they are starting to figure it out, to get into a game like this and totally get away from the things they have been successful doing.”
Like so many other games this season, the Hatters fell behind early when FAMU (1-25) jumped on Schaly for two runs in the first inning. The Stetson freshman was starting for the second time in three days after allowing six runs in just an inning of work on Sunday. He allowed three runs on seven hits over four innings on Tuesday.
“I was really happy with the way Tyler came in and pitched after Schaly struggled,” Dunn said. “Schaly is still a young freshman. The things he got away with in high school – pitching up in the zone and behind in the count – he is not getting away with now. The other thing is he has to be more efficient in at least slowing down the running game.”
The Hatters answered the quick start by FAMU by scoring three runs in the first inning off Robert. The inning had potential to produce much more, but netted just the three on a bases loaded walk and a pair of ground outs.
Stetson finally got back on the board, scoring twice in the fifth inning to chase Robert. After a walk and a one-out single by Tanner Blackman, James Rasmussen plated a run with a single to right and Konner Lutz followed with an RBI single to left-center.
After the Rattlers got their single run in the sixth off Warmoth, the Hatters got it right back when Mitchel Brennan led off the bottom of the inning with a single off reliever Tony Covington, moved up on a pair of bunts and then scored on a ground out.
Brennan again started a Stetson rally in the eighth inning that produced three runs. He singled to right, moved up on a balk and then scored on a double by Mike Fernland. The Rattlers then came unglued defensively, committing three errors to allow two more runs to score.
“We’ve said all along that if we are going to be successful we have to get Mitchel Brennan on track,” Dunn said. “Maybe having a game like this where he came in and got a couple of hits and scored a couple of runs will get him going.”
The Hatters will have a quick turnaround before closing out their homestand this weekend with a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series against Kennesaw State. The series will start on Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. and continue with games on Friday night (6:30 p.m.) and Saturday (1 p.m.).
“It is a good Kennesaw team, but we can’t worry about Kennesaw,” Dunn said. “We have to focus on taking care of business ourselves. We have to play good defense, throw the ball over the plate and pitch ahead in the count and we have to hit better than we did today. We have done all of those things well at times, but there have been very few times where we have done them all well in the same game.”