|Hatters Open Final Stretch Drive Tonight|
The stretch drive of the 2012 season for the Stetson Hatters will officially begin tonight when they Hatters host No. 13 UCF at Melching Field. The game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start.
The Hatters (29-14) will play 13 games over the next 18 days, with nine of those games set to be played at home. In addition to tonight’s game against UCF (35-10), the Hatters will host Atlantic Sun leading USC Upstate for a three-game series this weekend before entertaining the No. 1 team in the nation, Florida State, for a pair of games next week.
Stetson will play its final road games of the season starting on May 11 with a three-game series at East Tennessee State before paying a return visit to UCF on May 15.
The final series of the season is scheduled for Mary 17-19 at Melching Field when the Hatters host Florida Gulf Coast.
Stetson will serve as the host for the 2012 Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament May 23-27 at Melching Field. Tickets for that event are available online here.
When the Hatters host UCF tonight they will be looking to break an 11-game losing streak to the Knights, a skid that started in 2007. Overall, UCF has a 69-46 lead in a series that dates back to 1975. The programs were both members of the A-Sun from 1993-2005, a stretch that saw UCF win 37 of 57 games.
Tonight’s game will feature Stetson freshman right-hander Josh Powers (2-1, 2.84) take the mound for his eighth start of the season. He has allowed just three earned runs in his last 15.1 innings of work over three starts. During that time he has recorded eight strikeouts while having walked just two.
UCF will counter with junior right-hander Ray Hanson (4-1, 2.88) who will be making his ninth start of the year. His last four outings for the Knights have been in Conference USA play. In those four games he allowed nine earned runs over 19.1 innings with eight strikeouts and 10 walks.
Offensively, the Hatters turned in a solid performance last week, hitting .319 as a team in four games. The addition of junior Kurt Schluter to the offense has paid dividends. He is hitting .381 in 10 games since joining the every day lineup.
Even though he saw his hitting streak end at 15 games, senior Mark Jones continues to swing a hot bat. He had seven hits last week, including four doubles, and drove in four runs. Jones currently stands ninth in Stetson history with 268 career hits. He is four behind Jeremy Cruz (2006-09) for eighth.
With 264 career hits, Robert Crews is tied with Sammy Serrano (1996-98) for 10th on the career list. Crews has 175 career runs scored and is tied with Josh Laws (1999-2002) for 10th on that list.
Senior reliever Robbie Powell has been on quite a run of late. Powell has appeared in five of the last six games for the Hatters and has earned saves in each. His 13 saves are tied for fifth in the nation.