DeLAND—Stetson pounded out a school-record 29 hits en route to a 20-4 win over Atlantic Sun Conference foe USC Upstate, Friday at Melching Field.
The win not only gave the Hatters (24-31 overall, 13-13 A-Sun) their third straight series victory, but put Stetson within reach of fifth place in the A-Sun standings.
That’s quite an accomplishment considering one week ago the Hatters had yet to even qualify for the conference tournament. But Stetson took two of three from then-conference leader Mercer last weekend, and have won the first two games of this current series.
“We’ve played pretty well the last three weekends,” said Stetson head coach Pete Dunn. “We were out of the tournament at this time last week, so to make this kind of run down the stretch is pretty nice.”
Kevin Fagan and Tyler Bocock led the Hatters with four hits apiece, as five other players had at least two hits. Seventeen different position players saw action on Friday, and 16 of them collected a hit. The offensive onslaught came early and often, despite the fact that Upstate left-hander David Roseboom was on the mound for the Spartans (16-38, 5-20).
“Roseboom historically has pitched pretty well against us,” said Dunn. “I thought we did a good job with him early in the game. We scored a bunch of runs in the first few innings and kept building. We stayed hungry and didn’t change our approach. We hit some balls hard and got a few flares. Overall, we did a good job at the plate.”
The 20 runs for Stetson are a season high.
Senior Day festivities were held prior to the game, and senior second baseman K’Shawn Smith responded for the Hatters, making several outstanding plays defensively and going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI.
Patrick Mazeika put Stetson on the board in the first with an RBI groundout. Leading 1-0, Stetson exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the second. After Kyle Zech made it 2-0mwith a sacrifice fly, Tyler Bocock’s bases-loaded single to cleared the bases when the left fielder misplayed the ball, giving Stetson a 6-0 lead. Mike Fernland, who led off the inning with a triple, knocked in Bocock with a single, and Zech followed with hsis econd RBI of the inning to make it 8-0.
The Hatters added four more runs in the third, highlighted by Taylor Cockrell’s two-run single. Upstate scored a pair in the top of the fourth but the Hatters came back with four runs in the bottom of the inning to make it 15-2.
After being held scoreless in both the fifth and sixth innings, Stetson scored four times in the seventh, with Jordan Schulz’s two-run double the big blow. That made it a 19-4 game.
Stetson added its final run in the eighth on an RBI single by Mitch Piatnik.
Making his final start at Melching Field, Austin Perez (2-7) picked up the win for Stetson as he scattered seven hits over five innings. He struck out five batters, putting him two away from 200 for his career.
Cockrell and Zech each had three RBI for the Hatters, while Fagan scored four runs before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth.
Roseboom (2-7) suffered the loss for Upstate.
The Hatters host Upstate in the regular season finale for both teams, 1 p.m., Saturday.