DeLand, Fla. - Nick Rickles (Loxahatchee, Fla.) blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game, yet No. 14 Stetson (37-12) could not hold off Florida International (33-16) who scored a run in the top of the 11th to defeat the Hatters 10-9. It was the ninth home run of the season for Rickles.
Robert Crews (Port Charlotte, Fla.) started the Stetson scoring with his fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot over the right field wall in the first inning. An RBI single by Rickles scored Ben Carhart (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and the Hatters were off to an early 3-0 lead.
Crews, Carhart, and Rickles all finished the game with two hits with Rickles and Crews adding four and three RBI respectively. They were the bulk of an offense that had just eight hits in the game. Jeff Simpson (Valrico, Fla.) and Spencer Theisen (Longwood, Fla.) had one hit each.
FIU's Garrett Wittels (Bay Harbor Islands, Fla.) carried a big stick all night and went 5-for-5 with three runs, two RBI, and the game-winning home run in the 11th inning. Panther closer Bryam Garcia (Pinellas Park, Fla.) threw the final three innings and picked up the win raising his season record to 2-0.
Stetson's Jake Boyd (West Palm Beach, Fla.) matched Garcia's three final innings yet did not fare so well. He allowed four hits, six runs, four earned runs and struck out just one batter on the way to his first loss of the season (7-1).
Stetson carried a 7-4 lead into the 9th inning yet FIU rallied for five runs to take a 9-7 lead. Stetson committed two runs in the inning adding to the downturn of fortune. Rickles' dinger with Carhart on base in the bottom half of the inning rejuvenated the Hatters, yet it wasn't to be on this night.Next up for the Hatters is a weekend trip to Nashville to take on Lipscomb. The games are scheduled for Friday at 7:00 p.m., Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. eastern time. Stetson fans can hear the game on Hatter Vision at GoHatters.com with Bill Topping calling the action.