NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For the fourth straight conference weekend, the Stetson baseball team (21-23, 10-8) overcame a Friday night loss, winning the next two games and earning a series victory. The Hatters topped Lipscomb (15-30, 5-13) in both ends of a doubleheader on Sunday afternoon in Nashville.
Behind another strong outing by junior Austin Perez, Stetson won game one of the doubleheader, shutting out the Bisons by a score of 4-0. The win marked the third combined shutout for Stetson this season.
Game Two, scheduled for seven innings due to Atlantic Sun Conference rules, took the traditional nine to finish. Sophomore Garrett Russini’s double in the top of the ninth drove in freshman Patrick Mazeika, proving to be the game-winning run for the Hatters’ 6-5 victory.
“One of these days we’re going to win a Friday game, but you have to be happy with [the series win],” Stetson head coach Pete Dunn said following the doubleheader. “That’s our fourth series in a row that we’ve lost Friday night and come back to win the next two. That shows some character. That’s not easy to do, especially to come back and win two in one day.”
Game One Recap
The Hatters got things going early in game one as freshman Kevin Fagan led things off with a single to left field. Sophomore Darby McCormick, who went 3-for-3 on Friday, picked up right where he left off, ripping a double to the gap in right center to drive in Fagan and put Stetson in front early.
A hit by pitch and a walk by Lipscomb starter Denton Norman preceded a groundball double play that scored Stetson’s second run of the frame. The Hatters’ 2-0 advantage remained until the top of the sixth when Stetson extended its lead.
Mazeika led off the sixth getting hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. The first baseman then came around to score when senior James Rasmussen sent a Norman pitch well over the left field wall. The homer was the first of Rasmussen’s career, just the fifth for Stetson this season, and gave the Hatters a 4-0 lead.
Stetson starter Perez put together his fifth consecutive strong outing on the mound in game one, shutting out the Bisons for seven and two thirds innings. The lefty allowed seven hits, struck out seven, and walked just two in improving to 6-1 on the year.
“It was another great performance out of AP,” Dunn said of his starting pitcher. “It was a really quality start, and we hung in there to get the win.”
Senior Joe Dye ended the Lipscomb eighth with a strikeout and got the first out of the ninth before giving way to junior Cameron Griffin. The left-hander got one out before freshman Tyler Warmoth came on to record the final out of the game, earning his third save of 2013.
Game Two Recap
It was the Bisons who got on top first in game two. After Stetson failed to plate its two base runners in the top of the first, Lipscomb used a hit by pitch, a sac bunt, and a single against Stetson starter Chad Rood to take a 1-0 lead after one complete.
Like Lipscomb did on Friday, the Hatters countered quickly, scoring three runs in the top of the second to grab an early 3-1 lead. Sophomore Tyler Bocock led off the frame with an infield single, and freshman Konner Lutz followed it up with a single to left.
After a walk by sophomore Kyle Pitts loaded the bases, Fagan drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly to left field. McCormick continued his stellar weekend with a two run triple down the right field line to put the Hatters on top 3-1.
The Bisons eventually tied things up again on two runs in the bottom of the fourth, but the Hatters once again fired back with runs in the next half inning. McCormick walked, advanced to third on a single to right center by Mazeika, and scored on a ground out to give Stetson a 4-3 lead. A single through the infield by Rasmussen then drove in Mazeika to put the Hatters on top 5-3 through four and a half.
A hit by pitch and a walk proved to be costly for Stetson early in the bottom of the sixth. Tyson Ashcraft, who Warmoth hit to lead off the frame, came around to score on a single to left center by Zach Lowery. A single up the middle by Lee Wilson then drove in Gray Hutchinson, who walked, tying the game at 5-5.
Wasted opportunities to advance the leadoff runner in the eighth inning left junior Mike Fernland stranded at first base after getting hit by a pitch in his first at bat of the game. A pair of third strike bunt attempts ultimately ended Stetson’s charge in the frame.
In the ninth, however, Mazeika singled to right field, and quickly came around to score when Russini ripped a double to the gap in right center field. Freshman Adam Schaly, who came on as the fifth Stetson reliever in the eighth inning, closed out the ninth, improving to 2-2 on the year.
Stetson will next travel to Tampa to take on USF this Wednesday. The Hatters and the Bulls are scheduled to play at 7:00 p.m. Stetson will then return home to host North Florida in a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series next weekend.