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by: Stetson University
Baseball Hosts Stetson Invitational This Weekend
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  02/27/2014
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After Wednesday’s home game with South Florida was rained out, the Hatters are well-rested as they welcome Iowa, Furman and Maine to DeLand for the annual Stetson Invitational.
    The Stetson Invitational started in 2002 and has been played in nine of the last 13 seasons under various names. In 2013, the Hatters hosted Central Michigan, Ohio State and Connecticut. Previous teams to play in the Invitational include Penn State, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Illinois, Kansas State and Notre Dame.
The Hatters have faced this year’s Stetson Invitational field a total of 40 times, and are a combined 29-11 against Iowa, Furman and Maine.
    With the exception of nine played at Furman, all of the meetings between Stetson and the invitational field have taken place in DeLand, either at old Conrad Park or at Melching Field.

Iowa enters the weekend with a 6-1 record, the best among all teams in the Stetson Invitational. The Hawkeyes    opened the series by winning two out of three at Austin Peay, and won all four games last weekend at the Snowbird Classic in Port Cahrlotte, Fla.
    The Haweyes are batting .294 as a team and pitching to a 3.77 ERA. INF Jake Yacinich leads the offense with a .455 batting average, while LHP Andrew Hedrick leads the pitching staff with a 2-0 record and 1.54 ERA.
    Furman is 3-5 entering the weekend, with wins over Norfolk State, Toldedo and A-Sun member East Tennessee State.
    The Paladins are batting .284 as a team, with four regulars hitting .324 or better. The pitching staff boasts a 5.62 ERA, but no pitcher has thrown more than 10.0 innings.
    Maine has opened the season 1-5, playing thre-game series at Miami (Fla.) and Clemson. The Black Bears’ only victory was a 3-1 win at Miami on the season’s second day.
    Maine is batting .239, but Troy Black is hitting at a .435 clip. The pitching staff owns a 6.80 ERA.

The 2014 season has gotten off to a rough start for the Hatters, with just two wins in the first eight games. Playing what head coach Pete Dunn has called the most challenging schedule in 35 years as head coach, Stetson has yet to find it’s groove at the plate. The Hatters are batting .175 and scoring less than two runs per game heading into Wednesday’s game with South Florida.
    Junior Josh Powers has been a surprise at the plate for Stetson. The DH/1B and Sunday starting pitcher is hitting .350 in his first season as a hitter.
    Pitching has been Stetson’s strength so far, with freshman Mitchell Jordan leading the way. Jordan owns a 1.93 ERA in two appearances this year and is on the mound tonight against the Bulls. Overall the Hatters own a 4.63 team ERA.
    Last weekend, the Hatters won two of three from Boston College to earn the program’s first series win over an ACC foe since winning a pair of midweek games over North  Carolina in 1982.

This year marks the 15th season of Melching Field at Conrad Park. Opened in 1999, Melching Field has hosted over 500 Stetson games. The Hatters are 364-185 (.663) all-time at Melching Field, with an average attendance of 1,115 fans. Melching Field as been the host of 10 A-Sun Conference tournaments ... the Hatters face what head coach Pete Dunn calls the most challenging schedule in his 35 years as head coach... Stetson plays a total of 13 games against ACC and SEC foes this season (Ole Miss-3, Boston College-3, Florida State-3, South Carolina-2, Miami-1, NC State-1) ... Stetson also faces seven teams who participated in the 2013 NCAA Tournament (Ole Miss, South Carolina, NC State, Miami, FSU, Mercer, ETSU) ... sophomore first baseman Patrick Mazeika was recently named by Baseball America as the A-Sun’s number three prospect for the 2015 MLB Draft ... sophomore Kevin Fagan hit his first career home run in Tuesday’s loss at Bethune-Cookman.

Stetson’s baseball team was picked to finish sixth in the 2014 Atlantic Sun Conference race, and sophomore first baseman Patrick Mazeika was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Conference team in voting by A-Sun head coaches.
    The Hatters received a total of 60 points in the coaches poll, finishing just behind fifth place Kennesaw State (64). Stetson returns six seniors among its 19 letter winners from last season’s 26-31 squad.
    Defending regular-season champion Mercer received seven first place votes and 97 total points en route to being named as the preseason favorite. North Florida (86) received one first place vote, while Florida Gulf Coast (73) received two first place votes. Defending tournament champion East Tennessee (69) is fourth in the preseason poll, followed by Kennesaw State, Stetson, Lipscomb (34), USC Upstate (30), Jacksonville (27) and Northern Kentucky (10).
    Mazeika was one of three unanimous selections to the Preseason All-Conference team. The 2013 A-Sun Freshman of the Year, Mazeika batted .382 with three home runs and 33 RBI in 57 games. Mazeika was also a first-team all-conference selection and was a consensus Freshman All-America honoree.
    Mercer’s Chesny Young was named preseason player of the year, while Chad Sobotka of USC Upstate and Michael Massi of Mercer were named as pitcher and defensive player of the year, respectively.

A participant in Florida’s first intercollegiate baseball game in 1902 (W, 4-0 vs. Rollins), Stetson has been playing baseball since 1901. The Hatters are beginning their 97th season of competition, with the program being dormant during both World Wars.
    The Hatters have had plenty of success on the field, winning 1,913 total games and carrying a .571 winning percentage into the 2014 season.
    Stetson has participated in 17 NCAA Regionals, 2011 being the last time, and captured eight Atlantic Sun Conference championships (Stetson was an independent in baseball until 1987).
    Stetson has produced its share of Major League Baseball talent as well, boasting a pair of first round draft picks and nine Major Leaguers, including current Atlanta Braves third baseman Chris Johnson and Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber. Others to play in the big leagues include: Brian Bocock, Lenny DiNardo, Eric Knott, Kevin Nicholson, Wade Rowdon, Bill Swaggerty and George Tsamis.

The Hatters vist No.3 South Carolina for a pair of midweek games, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 4-5, in Columbia, S.C.

Stetson Baseball