Stetson’s pitching staff came into Tuesday night’s showdown with seventh ranked Florida State on a roll. The Hatters had allowed just 22 total runs over the last nine games.
The Seminoles put an end to that run, pounding out 18 hits and using nine walks to batter the Hatters in a 13-5 FSU victory in front of 2,517 fans at Melching Field.
The teams will play again on Wednesday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. Former Major League pitcher Jack Billingham, who lives in New Smyrna Beach, will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Stetson used five pitchers in the game on Tuesday and only senior sidewinder Joe Dye had any success.
“It is very disappointing to go into a game like this and not have guys step up,” Stetson coach Pete Dunn said. “You have to step up and take advantage of this opportunity. The thing that is so disappointing is that we walked nine and hit two. When you do that, and give up 18 hits, they could have scored twice that many if they had taken advantage of it.”
Freshman left-hander Adam Schaly (2-3) took the brunt of the FSU attack, allowing eight runs on 10 hits while allowing five walks over four innings of work. Ben Rakus followed, allowing two walks and hitting a batter in his inning of work. He escaped allowing any runs when Dye came out of the pen with the bases loaded in the sixth and got a pop out and two strikeouts to end the inning.
“You can’t beat a mediocre team doing that, much less a top five team in the nation,” Dunn said. “There is no excuse for not throwing the ball over the plate. I have never, ever tolerated walks and I never will. I just don’t understand how you can go out there at this level and not throw the ball over the plate to give yourself a chance.
“Joe Dye came in there against a bad matchup, a right-handed sidearmer pitching to left-handers, and he throws the ball over the plate and gets out of the inning. If you throw the ball over the plate you have a chance to be successful. If you don’t, you have no prayer.”
FSU (39-9) took advantage of the Hatters’ pitching woes, scoring two runs in each of the first four innings. Dye kept the Seminoles at bay for his two innings of work, but FSU came right back after he left the game, scoring four times in the eighth and once in the ninth.
The hitting stars in the game for FSU included freshman Jameis Winston who established career highs for hits (3) and RBI (4) while also scoring a pair of runs. The heir apparent to the FSU quarterback job in the fall, Winston singled in a run in the third off Schaly, doubled in two off Cameron Griffin in the eighth and then drew a bases loaded walk from Chad Rood in the ninth.
FSU also got three hits, including two doubles, three runs and two RBI from D.J. Stewart, two hits, including a somewhat controversial two-run homer, from Stephen McGee and two hits from Casey Smit off the bench. The controversy on the McGee homer in the fourth was over whether or not he touched first base.
Stetson (23-25) had its fair share of scoring chances early in the game off FSU starter Peter Miller (6-1). The Hatters plated a run in the first, but left two on base, and then scored three in the second, tying the game at the time at 4-4. Over the next five innings the Hatters got six hits, but did not get a runner past second base.
That streak ended in the eighth when Stetson got three hits and pushed a run across but, once again, the Hatters left two on base.
A trio of Stetson players had three hits each in the game. Kevin Fagan had three, including a two-run triple, and scored twice, Garrett Russini had three hits, including a double, and K’shawn Smith had three hits, including a pair of doubles.
Miller allowed four runs on eight hits in his six innings of work for FSU to get the win.
“If we are fortunate enough to get into the conference tournament in a couple of weeks, those are the guys that are going to have to step up and win for us in an eight team tournament,” Dunn said of his pitching. “That is what makes this so disappointing.”
The Hatters will try to salvage the final game of the season series from the Seminoles on Wednesday afternoon. Either Josh Thorne (3-0, 3.90) or Tyler Warmoth (3-2, 3.96), both freshman right-handers, will get the start on the mound for Stetson. FSU is expected to counter with sophomore left-hander Bryant Holtmann (2-0, 3.21).
The Hatters will continue their eight-game home stand this weekend when they host Atlantic Sun Conference newcomer Northern Kentucky for a three game series starting on Friday.