|Simpson Delivers Against Wildcats|
Jeff Simpson lays down a sacrifice bunt against Northwestern.
Courtesy: Stetson University
DeLand, Fla. - Junior Jeff Simpson (Valrico, Fla.) delivered a two-RBI triple in the bottom of the 6th inning to propel Stetson (10-13) to a 5-4 win over Northwestern (5-15) Thursday night in the first of a four-game series at Melching Field. Simpson was 2-for-4 on the night with the triple, a double, two RBI, a sacrifice bunt, and a run scored. His first hit of the night, the triple, extended his current hitting streak to 17 games. He also stole a pair of bases and is now 10-for-12 in that category.
"He [Simpson] is such a tough out, we call him the gnat", said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn. "He puts the ball in play. When they come in to take away the bunt, he slaps it by them. He takes a lot of pitches and is not afraid to get hit. He is a catalyst for us."
Joining Simpson with multiple hits in the game were Senior Aaron Crittenden (Fort Myers, Fla.) and sophomore Nick Rickles (Loxahatchee, Fla.). Crittenden was 3-for-5 with a run scored and Rickles finished 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Freshman Kurt Schluter (Jupiter, Fla.) delivered a pair of RBI on his seventh double of the season in the bottom of the 1st inning.
With one out in the 1st Mark Jones (Palm Coast, Fla.) drew his first of four walks on the night. Crittenden, the next batter, singled up the middle moving Jones to third. Schluter then followed with his double scoring Jones easily and a hustling Crittenden all the way from first base.
The Wildcats evened the score with two runs off of Stetson starter Lindsey Caughel (Orlando, Fla.) in the top of the 3rd. On the night Caughel lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowed four earned runs and surrendered 11 hits. On the positive side he struck out six batters, walked none, and picked up the win to raise his record to 2-2 on the season.
With the score still even 2-2, Stetson opened up a lead with three runs in the bottom of the 6th. Spencer Theisen (Longwood, Fla.) led off with his team-leading 34th hit of the season, a ground ball towards second base that he legged out for a single. He then moved to third on a lined single to right field by Rickles. Both runners scored on Simpson's triple and then Simpson crossed the plate with what turned out to be the winning run on a wild pitch.
"There are a lot of us that need to take a lesson from him [Simpson]", said Dunn. "He will challenge his teammates to play hard and play the game like they are supposed to. He doesn't like to lose."
The Wildcats added two runs in the top of the 7th before Caughel was replaced by sophomore Robbie Powell (Punta Gorda, Fla.) and then David Burns (Seminole, Fla.). Powell threw 1 2/3 allowing no runs on one hit, and Burns picked up his first save of the season with one inning of work that included two strike outs.
The Hatters will return to Melching Field tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. for game two of the four-game series with Northwestern University. Stetson fans can catch the games on Hatter Vision by going to www.gohatters.com. The voice of Stetson baseball Bill Topping will call the action.