DeLAND—Taylor Cockrell tossed five shutout innings and hit a game-breaking grand slam in the seventh to help lift Stetson to a 10-6 win over USC Upstate in Atlantic Sun Conference play, Thursday at Melching Field.
Cockrell, who finished with three hits and five RBI at the plate, allowed just one hit in his five innings of work and left the game with a 2-0 lead. But the Spartans (16-37 overall, 5-19 A-Sun) scored three times in the top of the sixth and still led 3-2 when Stetson (23-31, 12-13) rallied for eight runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Stetson won despite eight pitchers combining to walk a season-high 12 batters. Hatter hurlers did, however, hold the Spartans to just three hits.
“We swung the bats well enough to win,” said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn. “We dodged a bullet. I realize that Upstate has struggled this year, but they had the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning. That’s disappointing. As a coach you hope (the walks are) an aberration.”
In the seventh, Tyler Bocock gave the Hatters a 4-3 lead with a two-run single with bases loaded. After a walk to Patrick Mazeika re-loaded the bags, Cockrell cleared them with a high drive over the left field fence, giving Stetson an 8-3 advantage.
But the Spartans clawed their way back into the game with three runs in the top of the eighth, as three Stetson pitchers walked four consecutive batters in the inning.
Tyler Warmoth was the fourth Stetson pitcher of the inning, and the sophomore right-hander was able to end the Spartan uprising by retiring the final two batters of the frame with the bases loaded. Warmoth tossed a perfect ninth to earn his ninth save of the season.
Stetson pounded out 14 hits. Bocock, Zech and Pitts had two apiece. Kevin Fagan scored twice and Pitts knocked in two runs.
Upstate’s Stephen Dowling collected all three Spartan hits, going 3-for-5 with three RBI.
Kurt Schluter (2-1) picked up the win after tossing a scoreless inning of relief. The senior right-hander struck out the side in the seventh, earning his 18th career victory.
Zac Manuppelli (3-6) took the loss for Upstate.
The Hatters and Spartans resume their series, 6:30 p.m., Friday.